Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke forcefully against the growing “cancer” of anti-Semitism on Monday, including tolerance for anti-Semitic rhetoric in the U.K. Labor Party and America’s Democrat Party.
Pompeo began his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference by saluting the heroism of the Israeli troops who held the Golan Heights against seemingly overwhelming Syrian numbers in 1973, winning an impossible victory when defeat would likely have meant genocide against the people of Israel.
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation formally recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Monday.
“But I want to talk to you tonight about something that I’m very worried about,” Pompeo continued. “Indeed, I am deeply worried about an old threat that is reemerging to Israel and Jews all around the world, the threat of anti-Semitism.”
“It’s a cancer metastasizing in the Middle East, in Europe, and indeed, sadly here in the United States as well. In Britain, the labor party’s tolerance of anti-Semitism in its ranks is a national disgrace, and France’s Jews are under attack,” he said.
After reviewing the recent history of violent hate crimes against Jews, including the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in the United States, Pompeo warned anti-Semitic bigotry is “taking on an insidious new form in the guise of anti-Zionism.”
“It’s infested college campuses in the form of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement. It’s discussed in our media. It’s supported by certain members of Congress, I suspect none of whom are here tonight,” he said, alluding to the Democrat Party’s inability to forthrightly condemn blatant anti-Semitism from its members and the decision of most Democratic presidential contenders to boycott AIPAC.
Pompeo clarified that criticizing Israel’s policies is not what he meant by anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism.
“Anti-Zionism denies the very legitimacy of the Israeli state and of the Jewish people. Zionism reflects the determination of the Jews to live as free people in their ancestral homeland,” he said.
“Let me go on record: Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. The Trump administration opposes it unequivocally, and we will fight for it relentlessly,” he declared.
Pompeo’s explanation for the rise of anti-Zionism in America and Europe was absolutely scathing, encompassing everything from the poor quality of historical education to ideological bias and opportunistic politicians:
First, western civilizations and our youth in particular are losing first-hand experience with the Holocaust and its survivors as the post-war generation dies out. I saw that clearly. I thought about it on my most recent trip to Israel when I visited Yad Vashem.
Second, professors teach our children that Israel is the epitome of imperialism.
Third, journalists who help drive our public debate don’t always take the time to consider facts or think critically, and I’m being polite.
But frankly, worst of all, some politicians think anti-Semitism can actually win them votes, and we have to correct the record. We all have an obligation to do so because Israel should be admired, not attacked, embraced, not vilified, and emulated, not ostracized.
Pompeo cited American pushback against the politicized U.N. Human Rights Council as a major Trump administration achievement against anti-Semitism. He also stressed the importance of confronting Iran and pulling out of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, which “put more than $100 billion in the pockets of the ayatollah and funded the Islamic republic’s violent quest for regional domination.”
Pompeo also explained the importance of the Trump administration’s policy changes toward Israel, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli ownership of the Golan Heights, in shaking up stagnant Middle Eastern diplomacy. He said progress is being made toward lasting peace now that old illusions have been shattered and the aura of futility and despair around the Palestinian situation is beginning to disperse.
We live in dangerous times. We have to speak the truth. Anti-Semitism should and must be rejected by all decent people. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and any nation that espouses anti-Zionism like Iran must be confronted,” he urged.