Few developments in politics today concern me so much as the fact that two blatant and unapologetic (unless pressed by party leaders to be so) anti-Semites now walk the halls of Congress. Am I saying that there have been no anti-Semites in D.C. before 2018? Obviously not. It's been part of D.C. in one form or another for generations. Nor has it just been limited to Capitol Hill. For three years, Supreme Court Justice James Clarke McReynolds refused to even speak to Justice Louis Brandeis because he was Jewish. And FDR was no friend to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.
But this is not the 1920s, or 1940s, but 2019. And yet we have just elected two women — Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — who harbor openly anti-Semitic views to the House of Representatives. The new media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems quite comfortable in the presence of anti-Semites as well. (See her campaign victory speech alongside city councilman Thomas Lopez Pierre who ran a campaign to rid his district of "greedy Jewish landlords.")
By the way, for anyone who participated in the Women's March, you might want to know that your organizers, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, worship the most influential anti-Semite in the United States today, Louis Farrakhan. But they're not alone. Consider this. At Aretha Franklin's memorial, former President Bill Clinton sat just two seats over from Farrakhan (a man who just a few weeks ago referred to Jews as "termites"). Al Sharpton, a man who hosts a cable news show on MSNBC and during the Obama years visited the White House over 100 times, sat right next to Farrakhan. Not a word from the media.
Alan Dershowitz offered a chilling observation. For some perspective, he asks us to envision David Duke sitting in Farrakhan's place. Try to imagine an American president or so-called "civil rights leader" (uh-huh) sitting next to a KKK leader who said as Farrakhan did, not in 1918, but 2018: "The powerful Jews are my enemy. ... And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through!"
Boy, that sure sounds a lot like some German guy with a Charlie Chaplin mustache we all know, yeah? That's what's so insidious about anti-Semitism. It is exterminationist. It calls not just for the conquering of, or suppression of, a people or country ... rather it calls for their total eradication off the face of the earth. And it is ignored by the same people who still obsess over an irrelevant 1990s local Louisiana has-been worm David Duke ... and, dare we say it, Donald Trump.
If we learned one lesson from the Holocaust, it is this. When people say they want to annihilate you, believe them. Because they mean it. Such people are now closer to the levers of power in this country than ever before. And worse, they are being enabled, even celebrated, by the very same self-proclaimed arbiters of morality, tolerance, and social justice, in the media and politics and entertainment who, a generation ago, would have been revolted by such people.
Remember. Anti-semites never stop with just the Jews. Anti-Semitism is rather the canary in the coal mine. It is, in the end, anti-humanity. Let's not lose sight of that. Please.
Brad Schaeffer is a historian, author, musician, and trader. His eclectic body of writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, and a variety of well-read blogs and news outlets. Of Another Time and Place is his first novel, which takes place in World War II Germany and the deadly skies over the Western Front. You can order his book here: