Finally, some good news: Times have been tough for the House Democratic “Squad” of socialist anti-Semites.
Look at the headlines. Politico says the Squad is “at a crossroads.” Yahoo! News writes that “the Squad’s controversies have brought a backlash that could prove fatal.” The Daily Beast sounds panicked: “The Squad,” it howls, “Is Facing an ‘Existential Threat’ in 2024.”
Let’s hope so. Since they first came together in 2018, the Squad’s cry-bullies have mainstreamed anti-Semitic rhetoric, tarred the Democratic Party with the brush of extremism, and embarrassed moderate Democrats in frontline swing districts, all while playing the victim. As the Squad doubled in size—growing from four to eight members—it became more reckless and more revolting. It made enemies. A reckoning was inevitable.
And a reckoning may soon arrive. Over the course of its brief and sorry lifespan, the Squad has been insulated from democratic accountability by gerrymandering and political polarization. This year is different. A few Squad members face credible primary challenges. The press, for its part, has framed these contests as fights between the pro-Israel lobby and the anti-Semitic left. A typical headline from the Daily Mail reads: “Far-left Squad reps fear deep-pocketed American-Israeli PAC backing candidates to boot them in primaries.”
True enough. What the conventional framing obscures, however, is the egregious personal conduct that has alienated the Squad’s constituents and invited rebuke. The threat to the Squad isn’t just from AIPAC. It comes from the Squad members themselves. They are rude and confrontational machine pols who push the boundaries of manners and the law. And now, to quote one of their ideological forebears, the chickens are coming home to roost.
The anti-Squad backlash began in early 2023. Not long after the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, newly elected Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) moved to eject Squad founding member Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It was overdue. Omar had spent four years in the House obnoxiously and offensively trolling Jews and the pro-Israel community without paying a price.
Omar had said Jewish money was behind U.S. support for Israel. She had displayed a revolting moral equivalence by saying, “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” She has an actress’s sense of pacing and double entendre. She’d issue an inflammatory and anti-Semitic message, then react in faux shock-and-horror when called on it. She delighted in the ensuing controversy.
The House kicked Omar off the committee in a party-line vote. Had the matter been decided after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, some Democrats might have crossed the aisle to condemn her, as well. That is, after all, what happened in November, when 22 Democratic congressmen joined with all but eight Republicans to censure Omar’s squadmate, Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). At issue was Tlaib’s continual use of the anti-Semitic slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The chant, with its genocidal overtones, was the latest entry in a long list of horrible things that Tlaib has uttered—or more accurately, screamed—since she was elected in 2018. Tlaib had said, “There’s a kind of calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust.” She has denounced Israel as a racist and apartheid state. She has proclaimed her support for a “one-state solution”—that is, an end to the Jewish State of Israel. She has declared that “you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government,” anathematizing millions of pro-Israel Jewish liberal Democrats.
Tlaib has been especially unhinged since October 7. She’s leveled the disgusting accusation of genocide against Israel. She has seized every opportunity to behave like an enraged lunatic. Her track record of anti-Semitic outbursts more than deserved censure. She and Omar and their ringleader, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York—who broke down in tears in 2021 after casting a vote of “present” on a bill supporting Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense program—have disgraced the Congress and their party. The House would be better off without them. Alas, they don’t seem to be going anywhere: Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez benefit from computer-engineered, indigo-blue districts, loyal supporters, and a gusher of left-wing small-dollar donations.
The newer recruits to the Squad are not as secure. Freshman representative Summer Lee’s 12th congressional district in Pennsylvania includes the Tree of Life Synagogue, site of the worst attack on American Jewry in the history of the United States. Since October 7, however, Lee has joined the chorus of jackals working to delegitimize the Jewish state. Two primary challengers are running against her—including local activist Bhavini Patel, a pro-Israel Democrat whose mother immigrated from India. The primary is April 23.
Lee is something of a Squad understudy. Not so Representative Cori Bush of Missouri. Elected in 2020, the former Black Lives Matter activist has earned a reputation on Capitol Hill for her ersatz combination of moral preening and twisted behavior. Early in her career, when confronted over the fact that she employed private security, Bush responded, “So suck it up and defunding the police has to happen, we need to defund the police and put that money into social safety nets.” Turns out, the head of her private security detail was her boyfriend. They got married in 2023.
Bush trained much of her rhetorical fire on Israel. In an act of political perversion, she increased her verbal bombardment after Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israelis, injured thousands more, and took hundreds of captives. Bush voted against pro-Israel resolutions. She called for ending U.S. support to the IDF. She accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, a slander that alarmed the Jewish community of St. Louis.
Wesley Bell, a prosecuting attorney in St. Louis, dropped his nascent Senate campaign against incumbent Republican Josh Hawley to challenge Bush. On January 30, 2024, Bush disclosed that she was under Justice Department investigation for improper use of campaign funds related to her husband’s security company. Bell outraised her in the fourth quarter of last year. The primary is August 6.
The most endangered Squad member, and perhaps the most idiotic—though the competition is stiff—is Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York. The former middle-school principal, a socialist opponent of standardized testing, defeated the veteran, and ailing, congressman Eliot Engel in a 2020 primary. Bowman became infamous last year when he pled guilty to pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol to delay an important vote on government funding. The House censured him in December 2023.
Bowman has sided with the Squad in calling Israel an apartheid state engaged in genocide and ethnic cleansing. He’s appeared alongside noted anti-Semite Norman Finkelstein, who has demeaned the Holocaust and celebrated October 7. In January 2024, in a sign of just how anti-Semitic Bowman had become, Democratic lobbying group J Street revoked its endorsement of Bowman. When J Street says you are too anti-Israel, it’s time to reevaluate your life choices.
Also in January, reporters unearthed 9/11 Truther “poetry” Bowman had scrawled as a twentysomething, in which he insinuated that the attacks on New York, Washington, and Flight 93 were an inside job. By that point, Bowman’s challenger, pro-Israel Westchester County executive George Latimer, was building a serious campaign to unseat him. Latimer outraised Bowman in the fourth quarter of 2023. His record of diligent public service contrasts favorably with Bowman’s know-nothing radical chic.
Mark your calendar for June 25. That’s the New York primary, the sixth anniversary of Ocasio-Cortez’s arrival on the national stage, and—if we are lucky—the beginning of the Squad’s comeuppance.
Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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