TEL AVIV – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at AIPAC’s annual conference blasted the rise of global anti-Semitism, saying the brand of Jew-hatred tolerated by the UK Labour Party was a “national disgrace,” while the anti-Semitism occurring in the Middle East was a “cancer metastasizing.” He also said anti-Zionism is tantamount to Jew-hatred.
“Let me go on the record,” he told the 18,000-strong crowd in Washington, DC, “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”
“The Trump administration opposes it unequivocally and we will fight it relentlessly,” he said.
The U.S.’s top diplomat also praised President Donald Trump for signing an order earlier that day recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“Just a short while ago President Trump, alongside Prime Minister Netanyahu, signed a decree, a decree affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Pompeo said. “What a truly great two days for two great nations.”
Pompeo slammed the Democratic Party for its growing support of the BDS movement, and in particular, freshman Muslim congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for their “bigotry” — although he stopped short of naming them.
“This bigotry is taking on an insidious new form in the guise of anti-Zionism,” Pompeo said. “It’s invested on college campuses in the form of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. It’s discussed in our media. It’s supported by certain members of Congress, I suspect none of whom are here tonight.”
A day earlier, Vice President Mike Pence had told the same crowd that the Democrats had been “co-opted by people who promote rank anti-Semitic rhetoric” and said that support for Israel was no longer a “bipartisan tradition.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” Pompeo said on Monday evening, “criticizing Israel’s policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy. But criticizing the very right to exist of Israel is not acceptable. Anti-Zionism denies the very legitimacy of the Israeli state and of the Jewish people.”
Omar has been embroiled in a maelstrom of controversy, eliciting condemnation from both Democrats and Republican Jewish leaders regarding a series of anti-Semitic tweets she posted that were later defended by CAIR and drew praise from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
She charged pro-Israel supporters with having “allegiance to a foreign country” as well as tweeting that support of Israel is “all about the Benjamins baby.”
She later issued a half apology, saying “anti-Semitism is real” but adding that her comments constituted legitimate criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “the occupation.”
Pompeo pointed to a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in France, Germany and the U.S. In France, 2018 saw 500 attacks, a 74% increase from the previous year. In the U.S., incidents of anti-Semitism rose by a third.
The British Labour Party’s “tolerance of anti-Semitism in its ranks” is a “national disgrace,” Pompeo said. The party, led by pro-Palestinian leftist Jeremy Corbyn, has been struggling amid accusations of anti-Semitism, prompting nine party members to quit.