Pelosi’s Vastly Different Responses to Antisemitism and Racism

The most powerful Democrat in the United States, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, is probably the sharpest politician in America today. She knows how to make Washington move to her beat, directing her party and challenging Republicans in both policy and directly for their jobs.

It has been quite a display watching how she has handled antisemitism and racism.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made a series of antisemitic remarks in early 2019. Fellow members of Congress were appalled and wanted her called out and sought a resolution clearly condemning Jew hatred. But Pelosi sought to shield her fellow Democrat, especially a Black Muslim Woman. She managed to have Omar’s named pulled from the resolution and rather than specifically condemn antisemitism, the final wording covered ALL forms of hatred including “Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry.

Omar and fellow female Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were thrilled by the wording and saidIt’s the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history.” Rather than being scolded and embarrassed, Omar emerged as a proud victor.

She received a lesson that hateful words and actions do not matter: it’s power that protects, and Nancy Pelosi is both powerful and astutely political.

Ilhan Omar and Nancy Pelosi (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images}

On June 8, 2020 Pelosi sought to address another case of bigotry regarding the killing of an unarmed Black man by a police officer in Minnesota. Pelosi issued a clear statement that “Black Lives Matter,” and said that only “House Democrats” seek justice on behalf of George Floyd’s family and other African-Americans.

So when a Black elected member of Congress made a series of antisemitic tropes, Nancy Pelosi came to her defense and said ALL hatred is terrible, but when a local White police officer killed a Black man, Pelosi stated that ONLY Black lives mattered. When Omar was vilified, Pelosi said she was particularly worried about Omar’s safety, as though Jews were murderers coming to get her, but now seems nonplussed by the nationwide riots and violence – including the killing of police officers – after the killing of George Floyd and Omar’s chant that police are a “cancer” that should be rooted out.

Leading Democrats alongside Nancy Pelosi donning African garb and bending a knee

Pelosi knows politics and knows the 2020 election will be determined by turnout. There are seven times as many Black as Jews in the USA and the number of Muslims will surpass Jews in a decade. This crafty politician knows where her power ultimately lies, and it’s not with the ever-shrinking Jewish minority, two-thirds of whom vote for Democrats regardless of who is running.

If you want an unvarnished view of America’s concern for antisemitism today, consider the cold calculus of America’s leading politician.


Related First One Through articles:

Covering Racism

Examining Ilhan Omar’s Point About Muslim Antisemitism

Anti-Semitism Is Harder to Recognize Than Racism

Fact Check Your Assumptions on American Racism

Black Antisemitism: The Intersectional Hydra

Criticizing Muslim Antisemitism is Not Islamophobia

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