The decision by Vice President Kamala Harris to attend Thursday’s inauguration of incoming Honduras President Xiomara Castro proves that anti-Semitism’s growing malignancy within the Democratic Party is not confined to the halls of Congress. Like a virus, the world’s oldest hatred is spreading into the highest echelons of government, as the Biden administration continues to show solidarity with those who espouse Jew-hatred. It was only last May, as Israel was facing rocket attacks launched by Hamas, that Biden applauded Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) during his speech in Michigan by proclaiming his “admiration” for her intellect. Team Biden’s indifference to buoying those with anti-Semitic ties is evidenced by its dispatching of Harris on her high-profile trip to Honduras, where she is seeking to deepen relations with a leader whose unsavory connections are also being met with complacency and even praise by the mainstream media.
The first woman to hold the role of president, Castro ran on a socialist platform. Her husband, former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, is an admirer of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and was ousted in a military coup in 2009. That same year, Zelaya accused his government of hiring Israeli mercenaries to torture him with high-frequency radiation. According to Fox News, in 2020, Castro’s running mate, Vice President Salvador Nasralla, claimed that outgoing Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández’s “boss is the government of Israel” and said during a debate that “Jews control the global money supply.” In 2017, Nasralla’s wife, Iroshka Elvir, wrote a letter to the Latin American Jewish Congress backtracking comments she made during an interview with El Heraldo newspaper praising Hitler as “a great leader.” The delegation accompanying Harris on Thursday’s trip included Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Congressman Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) and USAID Administrator Samantha Power, who, in her final days as U.S. ambassador to the UN under former President Obama, facilitated the passage of anti-Israel UN resolution 2334, which declared Israeli settlements “illegal.”
For her part, Harris’s trip to Honduras underscores a repeated inclination to lean into those who harbor dangerous feelings towards Jews, a critical voting bloc for whom the Democrats’ anti-Semitic lurch still fails to yield a meaningful punch at the ballot box (although polls point to Jewish voting trends slowly evolving). Last fall, around the time of congressional Democrats’ removal of language in legislation providing Israel with $1 billion in funding for its Iron Dome missile defense system, Harris heaped praise upon a student in Virginia after the co-ed accused the Jewish homeland of ethnic genocide. Rather than contradict the young attendee, Harris nodded her head in agreement and then, peddling to the Democrats’ woke and trendy base, declared that “your truth should not be suppressed.” A formal apology amounted to Harris directing her now-departed spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, to issue a statement noting that “The Vice President strongly disagrees with the student’s characterization of Israel.” Yet proclamations of fealty for the Jewish state arrived only after the clip of Harris advancing the genocide lie went viral and was viewed by America’s adversaries, like Iran, which proudly aired the exchange on Iranian state television.
Harris’s senior staff was also tasked with calling the heads of three “leading” Jewish organizations, who predictably forgave Harris for the gaffe and issued statements touting the vice president’s pro-Israel bona fides. Jonathan Greenblatt, former Obama aide and current CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whose mission is to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people,” tweeted his appreciation for the VP’s office call, asserting that Harris “is proud of her record supporting #Israel.” Perhaps more telling, later that fall, Greenblatt tapped Harris to headline the ADL’s November 7 “Never Is Now” conference on anti-Semitism.
In a piece for Commentary entitled “The Rot Inside American Jewish Organizations,” Seth Mandel correctly suspects that “There is no future for Jewry without a strong and surviving Israel.” Mandel proceeds to explain that 87 percent of Jews in Britain denounced former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite and “exposed their own party’s bigotry.”
But, he writes, “Such communal solidarity has become distressingly unthinkable in the United States.” Simply put, an overwhelming majority of American Jewish organizations are strategically shifting away from an adherence to protecting Jewish particularism and are instead appealing to universalist and progressive ideals.
Beholden to a liberal fundraising base, leaders of prominent Jewish institutions refuse to take aim at the Corbynization of the Democratic Party. Today, a number of non-orthodox clergy remain unwilling to tackle the issue of anti-Semitism within liberal circles. Instead, they retain an overt concern with being viewed as politically correct rather than harnessing their skills by getting politically honest. As a result of said behavior, U.S. Jews are left vulnerable and exposed to attacks in places like New York, which reported in 2021 a 100 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
The minimal political fallout that Harris received after she failed to condemn one student’s anti-Zionist remarks granted her the space to travel to Honduras and help promote a politician like President Castro on the world stage. Castro’s links to anti-Semitism are well known and documented. Holding firm against anti-Semitism requires facing the uncomfortable truth that politicians like Harris are propagating policies and people who are antithetical to our country’s — and our people’s — best interest.
Irit Tratt is a freelance writer who resides in New York. Her work has appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Algemeiner, Israel Hayom, and JNS.