Hitler did not wake up one morning and decide to issue an order to murder the Jews of Germany. German Jews were well integrated and assimilated in Germany despite anti-Semitism. Neither the Nazis nor their ideology gained a majority among the German electorate prior to the Nazis seizure of power. In the last free German election, prior to the burning of the Reichstag, the Nazis lost votes.
Hitler began a multifaceted process to delegitimate the Jews of Germany, first through violence, intimidation, and boycotts, no different than the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement so prevalent in liberal Protestant churches and on American campuses. And then, and more importantly, through the propagation of laws that exempted Jews from the legal system.
As the perceptive student of totalitarianism Hannah Arendt noted, the Jews had to be removed from the legal system while assuring ordinary Germans that the denial of the rights of “juridicial man” only applied to the Jews.
While parallels to Nazi Germany are often overdrawn on one hand and too conveniently dismissed on the other, the recent decision by the Democrat Party to stand with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and refuse to issue a resolution condemning anti-Semitism is very much like the Nazi removal of the protection of Jews in the legal system.
The Democrat Party has institutionalized anti-Semitism and it has once-again, as it did during the Holocaust, abandoned the Jews.
No, the Democrat Party did not promulgate the equivalent of the Nuremberg Laws. To say that would be a crude exercise in hyperbole, but no one who cares about the evil of racial hatred should ignore that the Democrat leadership have institutionalized hatred by refusing to condemn it.
In so doing, it has set a harsh message, for it is totally unimaginable that it would do so if the objects of Omar’s hatred were blacks, Latinos, or even illegal immigrants.
Yet, don’t expect Jews to abandon the Democrat Party any more than revelations of President Roosevelt’s complicity in obstructing the rescue of European Jewry or President Truman’s embargo on arms sales to the fledgling Jewish state had any impact on Jewish party identification with the Democrats.
And Jews will not absorb the reality that it is the Black Caucus in the Democrat Party that ran to Omar’s aid and defended her vile anti-Semitism. In the era of identity politics, at a time when Will Smith is too white to play a role, skin color is far and away more important than ideology or prior alliances. Tribalism and “minority” status are the most significant political considerations, not just in our universities but also in the halls of the Congress. This is the real consequence of identity politics and political correctness, which Jewish organizations have supported and will ultimately regret having done so.
The great beneficiaries of the Omar imbroglio are not the Muslims but the white nationalists who have resented the Jewish — but not the Protestant or Catholic — role in resettling large numbers of Muslims in single political districts. Did the Jewish support for nearly unfettered refugee resettlement of Muslims not lead them to think that Ilhan Omar, not to mention Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, were natural outcomes of the process?
The Democrats are institutionalizing anti-Semitism, just as did Jeremy Corbyn and the British Labour Party. For the Jews, the worst is yet to come, for their so-called defense groups have no ability to seek vital, necessary, and new political alliances on the other side of the political divide.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him @salomoncenter.