It’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman, which did so much to help create the State of Israel, has been co-opted by people who promote rank anti-Semitic rhetoric,” Pence said.
By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner
Speaking at pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Vice-President Mike Pence slammed the Democratic party for failing to adequately condemn and combat anti-Semitism in its ranks.
“Now my friends, we’ve reached a fateful moment in our history,” he said. “All over the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. On college campuses, in the market place, even in the halls of Congress.”
“You know, there was a time when support for Israel was not a partisan issue here in Washington,” Pence said, before speaking of his collaboration with the late Democratic congressman and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos.
Pence said that this collaboration, particularly on Jewish- and Israel-related issues, was part of a “long and bipartisan tradition within the Congress, spanning generations.”
“But how things have changed,” he said. “It’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman, which did so much to help create the State of Israel, has been co-opted by people who promote rank anti-Semitic rhetoric and work to undermine the broad American consensus of support for Israel.”
Addressing the scandal surrounding Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who has made several anti-Semitic statements in recent weeks, and the Democratic leadership’s failure to pass a resolution explicitly condemning her, Pence said, “Recently, a freshman Democratic congresswoman trafficked in repeated anti-Semitic tropes; alleged congressional support for Israel reflected an allegiance to a foreign country; said that Israel had, and I quote, ‘hypnotized the world’; and she accused Americans who support Israel of being bought off by campaign contributions.”
“Anti-Semitism has no place in the Congress of the United States of America!” Pence emphasized.
“And at a minimum,” he added, “anyone who slanders those who support this historic alliance between the United States and Israel should never have a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives,” referring to Omar’s current committee assignment.
“The party that’s been the home of so many American Jews for so long struggled to muster the votes to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism in a resolution,” Pence said of the reaction to Omar’s statements.
Turning to the issue of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel and congressional attempts to combat it, Pence noted, “You know, as governor of Indiana, I was proud to sign the toughest anti-BDS legislation of any state in the union. But remarkably, today all but one Democrat running for president voted against the Combating BDS Act in the United States Senate.”
Pence expressed particular anger and frustration over the decision of many Democratic presidential candidates not to attend the AIPAC conference under pressure from the party’s far-left base.
“As I stand before you,” said the vice-president, “eight Democrat candidates for president are actually boycotting this very conference. So let me be clear on this point — anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land should not be afraid to stand with the strongest supporters of Israel in America. It is wrong to boycott Israel and it is wrong to boycott AIPAC.”