The Shameful Partisan Chutzpah of Brian Schatz

Senator Brian Schatz questions Governor Gina Raimondo during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., January 26, 2021. (Tom Williams/Reuters)

Here is Hawaii senator Brian Schatz:

Schatz, who came to the defense of Ilhan Omar, a congresswoman who peddles blood libels, accuses Jews of holding dual loyalties, of hypnotizing the world for evil, and of selling out their country for the “Benjamins,” has no moral standing to level such accusations at anyone, even if what he said were true.

Even if we concede that Republicans are politically amoral for failing to censure Greene, we are on safe ground noting that Schatz has engaged in immoral partisan behavior by proactively defending Omar’s comments.

Greene has embraced a unifying brand of nuttery that incorporates, among a host of other mind-blowingly stupid ideas, old-school Rothschild conspiracies. It is a dangerous fringe belief, no doubt. Omar embraces the most consequential, narrowly focused, and popular form of anti-Semitism in the world. “Anti-Zionism” has done more to undermine Jewish safety than every QAnon Parler post combined. It is the predominant justification for violence, murder, and hatred against Jews in Europe and the Middle East. Vast numbers of Europeans — from the far left to the far right — now believe, like Omar does, that Zionism is a Jewish plot bent on world domination.

The most insidious part of Schatz’s defense of Omar, however, is the accusation that fellow Jews who even point out her ugly rhetoric are merely peddling “racist talking points.” It is lazy and cynical, of course, but also says a lot about Schatz’s real view of Omar’s intellectual talents that he wants her to hide behind her color rather than stand up for her stated positions.

Another big talking point used by Democrats when they were rationalizing Omar’s rhetoric was that her comments were aimed at the Benjamin Netanyahu government, and that conservatives were “stifling” debate over Israel. The Democratic Party is teeming with Israel critics these days who are never accused of anti-Semitism, so this is risible. As is the notion that Omar is somehow pining for the reemergence of a center-left party, rather than simply an antagonist of Jewish people having a state. Omar’s buddy Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to even participate in a memorial for the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, on the 25th anniversary of his assassination. Does anyone believe Omar would?

As for the Republicans “big tent,” it’s concerning. As I noted in a piece this week, the biggest difference between Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi is that while one ham-fistedly grapples with the problem, the other celebrated, on major magazine covers, the ascendancy of the haters in her party. Only one of the two championed them as the future of the party. Only one passed a resolution protecting an anti-Semite from genuine censure. The consistent position would be to denounce all crackpots. Schatz can’t do that, because one tribe is more important to him than any other.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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