How Far is Andy Levin Willing to Bend?
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
According to the Washington Post, Congressional Democrats had a meeting to bring Jewish and Muslim representatives together in order to understand each other and iron out their differences over the Judeophobia being expressed by some of the freshmen Congressional representatives. The WaPo wasn't too concerned with accuracy (as they never are when it comes to that one Jewish nation), referring to Rashida Tlaib,
". . . who does not support the existence of a Jewish-only state . . . "
Due to prodding from CAMERA, they've already fixed that misstatement. There are other issues though, not all of the them the paper's.
Michigan's own Andy Levin doesn't exactly do his home state proud with his contribution to to this fiasco. Oh sure, he tried, in his own inept way, but under the circumstances, and given his history of local Jewish leadership, it's fair to ask if Levin even understands the situation.
But the conversations left some members wanting to delve deeper into personal struggles — especially in light of Omar’s comments. Rep. Andy Levin (Mich.), a former labor organizer and synagogue president, began organizing a more formal event that would focus on anti-Semitism, calling on leaders of a liberal Jewish group, Bend the Arc, to attend and moderate the discussion.
Levin had hoped the leftward tilt of the organization would make it easier to discuss such a sensitive topic with liberal members who sympathize with Palestinians. He also extended the invitation to freshmen allies of Omar and Tlaib — including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — in hopes of making the two Muslim women more comfortable.
Levin doesn't understand that Omar and Tlaib are very comfortable. However some of us Michigan Jews are uncomfortable with the two Muslim women's Judeophobia. Given over 3,000 years of Jewish history, it is not up to us to cower to them, to go to them on bended knee in supplication. Lately that's been a losing strategy for Jews. Strength is better. They'll hate us either way, but at least we keep our dignity and self-respect. No other group begs for respect the way Jews do. Everyone else demands it - which could be why they get it.
Bend the Arc would disagree. They're much too progressive to stand up to anti-Semitism, to demand that Jews and Israel be given their rightful place in the world, especially after all of the contributions Jews and Israel have made to the world. Bend the Arc is dedicated to slamming Trump. On Omar's anti-Semitism, they're more wishy-washy. Anti-Semitism is rolled around and mixed with all of those other nasty bigotries until it doesn't mean anything. And even though Jews are the victims of almost 60% of religious-based hate crimes in the United States, Bend the Arc, like Ilhan Omar and the Democratic party, see anti-Semitism as morally equivalent to "Islamophobia." In this case "Islamophobia" is defined as calling out Muslim representatives on their anti-Semitism.
But wait. It gets worse. Simply inviting Bend the Arc didn't bring the conversation low enough.
When the small group convened, tensions emerged almost immediately. A Bend the Arc facilitator made a joke about Jews and money to try to clear the air. But Rep. Jahana Hayes (Conn.), one of the freshman allies invited to join the session, grew serious and asked why the facilitator could talk like that when someone like Hayes could not.
“It’s not okay,” Hayes said this past week when asked about the specific exchange. “These [sorts of jokes] are off-limits. It’s confusing for someone like me who is trying to learn.”
Rep. Hayes is correct. The Bend the Arc representative added an unneeded dose of stupidity.
Advice to Rep. Hayes: The next time you meet Rep. Levin, give him a good solid zetz. He deserves it.
Advice to Rep. Levin: As you walk the halls of Congress from now on, keep this story always in mind:
On June 22 1982, Joe Biden was a Senator from Delaware and confronted then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during his Senate Foreign Relations committee testimony, threatening to cut off aid to Israel. Begin forcefully responded, “Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”
And don't you ever embarrass yourself and your constituents like that again.