MSNBC morning program co-host Mika Brzezinski was chided by her “Morning Joe” co-host, former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough for being “so smug about mocking somebody as Jews are being gunned down in the streets of Paris and being attacked across Europe.”
This past Monday, Brzezinski and Scarborough got into a heated conversation regarding House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. Also part of the conversation was GOP strategist and MSNBC political analyst Nicolle Wallace, co-host of The View.
In a mostly one-sided discussion, Scarborough rips President Obama for “allowing the Iranians to roll over him and run over him in negotiations.” Wallace chimes in, “And when every world leader walks in the street arm in arm with the Israeli prime minister and America’s not there you tell me we’re not at a low point in US-Israel relations. It’s pathetic, it’s embarrassing.”
Noah Rothman, in the conservative Hot Air, explained what angered Scarborough:
What set Scarborough off in this segment was not merely Brzezinski’s body language, which clearly communicated her distaste with what she appears to regard as moral posturing by her on-camera comrades, but her apparent determination that Republicans – including her co-hosts – were being dishonest. Their concerns were not for a rapidly nuclearizing state supporter of terrorism or the embattled Israeli people, and it certainly wasn’t for Jews around the world contending with increasing anti-Semitic violence, Brzezinski apparently reasoned. Their only interest was in embarrassing President Barack Obama. This determination led her to offer a mock compliment to her fellows when she observed, “You guys are good at what you do.”
This bit of projection from Brzezinski clearly frustrated Scarborough.
The segment got particularly heated when, in the opinion of the liberal publication Salon, Scarborough “went on a rant”:
“Benjamin Netanyahu, the people of Israel and Jews across the globe need to know that there’s at least one country, one country that understands what they’re going through, the anti-semitism they face every day and the fact that there is a country that has promised to get a nuclear bomb and wipe Israel off the face of the earth, that right now is negotiating with the United States to get that nuclear weapon that would allow it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,” ranted Scarborough. “I know there are a lot of people out there that hate Jews, go ahead and tweet me. I know you hate Jews, I know you’re anti-semitic.”
Brzezinski critically responded, “That’s just not– that’s low-hanging fruit.”
Scarborough, not letting up, retorted, “It’s not low-hanging fruit. If you can’t go to a kosher deli in Paris, France without being gunned down, if you don’t face anti-semitic attacks in England, if you can’t send your kids in France to nursery school without them being shot dead– but, go ahead, be smug about it. You don’t understand what Jews are going through. You go ahead and be smug.”
This debate may not have attracted much attention if not for the fact that Mika Brzezinski is the daughter of former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The elder Brzezinski is regarded by many as no friend of the Jewish State.
During this past summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, Brzezinski claimed that Hamas seeks peace and has continuously blamed Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the conflict.
In a 2009 interview with the Daily Beast, Brzezinski actually advocated shooting down Israeli planes if they attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
During his tenure with the Carter administration, Brzezinski believed the U.S. could pursue an alliance with Ayatollah Khomeini and wrote a memo in claiming “Islamic fundamentalism was not an imminent threat and would not gain prominence in the Middle East.”
Paul Miller is Executive Director of the Salomon Center. Follow him @pauliespoint.