Complaint management is a growth industry. Complaint management software, outsourcing of customer service departments—nobody wants to do this stuff themselves, apparently. And if you want to know why, just ask Douglas Emhoff.

The second gentleman is the first Jewish vice presidential spouse and so he has been handed the portfolio of anti-Semitism. But not really—Emhoff doesn’t have much impact on policy. He is the administration’s designated listener. If you have a complaint about anti-Semitism, better call Doug. And so he has been made the consumer-affairs face of President Biden’s manifestly unserious response to a nationwide epidemic of Jew-hatred.

What actions of consequence is Emhoff permitted to take on behalf of the White House? Mostly holding roundtables.

His defenders will say that’s unfair, that actually he was part of the team that crafted the administration’s National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism. But that document is a perfect example of why Emhoff is in a no-win position here: There was nothing useful in that words-but-no-action plan. Any subsequent efforts to combat post-Oct. 7 anti-Semitism were taken by presidential executive orders—in other words, the National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism was deemed useless to the cause of countering actual anti-Semitism.

Which was no surprise: The strategy ignored anti-Zionism, the primary driver of the worst anti-Semitism outbreak in America in a century. The strategy to counter anti-Semitism was really a history book, not a manual. And Emhoff’s role in the administration was demonstrative of this fact.

Emhoff attended a Passover event at a Jewish school, flew to Poland to visit the extermination camps and speak about the lessons of the Holocaust, held a White House seder, put up a mezuzah on the second couple’s doorpost, even went to Rosenberg’s Bagels which, though located in Denver, “specializes in New York bagels and lox.”

Not everything was rainbows and rugelach. There was controversy. “Second ladies have typically adopted ‘compassion issues’ related to family or education, and antisemitism from the outset was a more urgent subject,” reported the Washington Post. But of course, Emhoff wasn’t a lady at all. The paper talked to political-spouse expert Tammy Vigil, who warned: “The question will be: When a woman comes back into the role in the future, would she be able to do that kind of thing?”

We do hope to see the day when the female spouse of a male vice president is taken exactly as seriously as Douglas Craig Emhoff.

Then Oct. 7 happened, and Emhoff listened and roundtabled as hard as he’s listened and roundtabled in his life. “That encapsulates the core of Emhoff’s work: visiting, calling, consoling,” the Post explained. “In recent months, he has expressed sympathy with victims of antisemitic violence or harassment, met with the families of Americans taken hostage by Hamas, and visited communities such as Jewish students at Cornell University to offer emotional support. This month, Emhoff spoke on a panel about antisemitism at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.”

Being Joe Biden’s complaint department on anti-Semitism is lousy work. The president isn’t doing anything to combat anti-Semitism and does some things that enable it. On the other side are the Democratic Party’s grassroots, who believe doing nothing about anti-Semitism is still doing too much. The message from his left flank is: If one is not participating in anti-Semitism, one is no true progressive.

It’s a thankless job, especially in an election year. CNN reports that Biden is getting some “warning signs” regarding his support among Jewish voters. “I’ve had a couple of people say point blank, ‘How could any Jew vote for a Democrat?’” Troy Zukowski, a local Michigan Jewish Democrats chair, told CNN. “I’m not so concerned about Jews who may vote for Trump. I’m more concerned about those who may vote for third party spoiler candidates or not vote at all.”

Michigan, you’ll note, is the state at the center of Biden’s obsessive focus on courting Arab-American voters. Initially, Arab leaders in Dearborn were so upset by Biden’s decision to support Israel over Hamas that they refused to even meet with his campaign manager. They relented when Biden sent higher-ranking White House officials to prostrate themselves before leaders who were demanding restrictions in aid to our ally at war and that the president impose a permanent ceasefire irrespective of the return of American hostages.

The strategy is one of equity: Biden seems to want to make sure Jewish Americans feel every bit as alienated from him as Arab Americans do. It’s America’s own two-state solution for Jews and Arabs: the state of anxiety for one, the state of indignance for the other.

The CNN article gives an excellent example of how the administration’s deployment of Emhoff is miles away from meeting the moment: “Two weeks ago, Emhoff led the latest Jewish-centered outreach at a reelection fundraiser, standing near the front of a new outpost of famed Lower East Side fish purveyors Russ & Daughters and worked through an answer to a question about what gives him hope.”

That appearance, we are told, comes the day after “protesters wrapped in keffiyehs unfurled a ‘Long Live Oct. 7th’ banner at the Lower Manhattan memorial to the people killed that day at the Nova Music Festival.”

You cannot possibly counter this murder cultism with more bagels and lox. Yet that’s all the Biden White House appears willing to let Emhoff do. They should relieve him of the burden of fronting this purposeless and token-filled Jewish outreach. It’s beginning to look more like a punishment than an honor, an insult to the very Jewish voters that Biden has insulted quite enough already.

+ A A -
You may also like
Share via
Copy link