Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Will Antisemitism Envoy Lipstadt Defend Rubio The Way She Defended Biden? (Daled Amos)

By Daled Amos

Even before being confirmed as Antisemitism Envoy this past March, Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt was outspoken on the weaponization of the Holocaust.

In a 2011 interview with Haaretz, Lipstadt condemned what she called "Holocaust abuse"

Renowned Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt says that American and Israeli politicians who invoke the Holocaust for contemporary political purposes are engaging in “Holocaust abuse”, which is similar to “soft-core denial” of the Holocaust...

“When you take these terrible moments in our history, and you use it for contemporary purposes, in order to fulfill your political objectives, you mangle history, you trample on it,” she said. [emphasis added]
Despite taking that stand, Lipstadt came to Biden's defense when, while on the campaign trail in 2020, he compared Trump with a Nazi:

He’s sort of like Goebbels. You say the lie long enough, keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it, it becomes common knowledge.

In that case, Lipstadt defended Biden:

Goebbels was very successful at what he did, and I think the comparison by Vice President Biden was a very apt comparison because we’re seeing a lot of this now.

This was all when Lipstadt, as a Holocaust historian, was addressing the use of references to the Holocaust -- on the question of whether the Holocaust comparison was being manipulated by Biden in attacking his political opponent.

Now that she is US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, will Lipstadt publicly address the politicization of the charge of antisemitism when it is being used to silence a political opponent?

At issue is the following tweet by Senator Rubio:

The senator is criticizing the $749 billion Inflation Reduction Act, particularly what he considers wasteful spending -- contending that crime prevention is more important for most Americans than a tax break on an electric car. 

Rubio references George Soros, the Jewish Hungarian-American billionaire, who is funding the campaigns of many progressive candidates in local district attorney races. According to one account, 24 of these candidates were elected, establishing policies that opponents argue are "soft on crime," because the DAs often choose not to prosecute various criminal offenses.

The reaction to Rubio's tweet was heated, accusing him of antisemitism because he mentioned Soros by name.

Congressman Jerry Nadler:

NBC News contributor Joyce Alene:

Actor George Takei:

Reporter Helen Kennedy:

Columnist Max Boot:

Journalist Soledad O'Brien:

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten:

In an op-ed in Newsweek, Joel Petlin -- school superintendent of the Kiryas Joel school district in Orange County, NY -- decries The Mislabeling of Antisemitism. He writes that while Holocaust propaganda and global conspiracies are out of bounds, while

What is completely acceptable, on the other hand, is to engage in debate over an individual's policies or statements—such as Soros's position on Israel, support for the BDS movement, and embrace of antisemites like congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. The fact that Soros is a Jew should be completely irrelevant to a discussion on the policies he backs.

This is particularly true in the case of George Soros, who makes no secret of what he is doing and why, having written an op-ed just a few weeks ago that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, entitled Why I Support Reform Prosecutors.

Surely his opponents have the right to respond.

As for Rubio himself, Petlin points out that he is a long-time supporter of Jewish institutions, the safety of Israel, and Holocaust education.

Also worth pointing out is the fact that mentioning the name "Soros" did not always bring out accusations of antisemitism.  

In an article in Tablet, James Kirchick describes The Sanctification of George Soros: How the left stopped worrying about Soros the billionaire and learned to love Soros ‘the Jew’. He points to the 1995 New Yorker article The World According to George Soros, which delves into his Jewish roots and Politico's George Soros' quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system in 2016, which reported on the beginnings of Soros's plan to elect liberal district attorneys. There were no accusations of antisemitism in response to either article.

Not even when Saturday Night Live had a skit in 2008 that ran a chyron describing Soros as the "owner of the Democratic Party:

But attitudes have changed.

Now we live during a time when there are people who, to borrow Lipstadt's language, use the accusation of antisemitism "for contemporary political order to fulfill political objectives."

Here is an opportunity for the antisemitism envoy to speak out in this political battlefield -- not to take sides on the issue, but rather to use this instance (or the next one, which will inevitably turn up) -- as a teaching moment to illustrate what antisemitism actually is and when it is inaccurate and appropriate to use such a description.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!