The Republican candidates have been weighing in all day on Belgium Ambassador Howard Gutman’s troubling remarks about anti-Semitism, but Democrats have been conspicuously silent. And it’s not just Democrats on the Hill. I called up the National Jewish Democratic Council to find out whether it would condemn Gutman’s comments. The response from NJDC spokesperson David Streeter: “We have no comment on it.”
That’s it? Let’s be clear about this: Gutman’s comments were indefensible. This isn’t about a policy difference between Democrats and Republicans. Both parties should be able to agree that blaming Israel for anti-Semitism is outrageous. If the NJDC can’t condemn something as cut-and-dry as that, then what can it condemn?
A pro-Israel Democrat, appalled at the NJDC’s silence, emails me: “Democrats should speak out and remind Ambassador Gutman that anti-Semitism existed long before the modern State of Israel. There is no room in our party for anyone — including ambassadors — who seek to find excuses for anti-Semitism and the deep hatred among some Muslims for the Jewish people and our country. Supposedly intellectual descriptions and justifications for root causes of bigotry and anti-Semitic violence is neither intellectual nor intelligent.”
The Republican candidates have been clear on this. And yet, not a single Democratic member of Congress has spoken out against Gutman’s comments. Not only does this indicate that President Obama has no plans to recall the ambassador, it’s also a depressing testimonial about the current state of the Democratic Party. If pro-Israel Democrats can’t stand up to Obama on an issue as unambiguous as this, then one wonders what else they would be willing to stay silent on.