The infuriating hypocrisy of the right-wing’s disingenuous and unabashedly racist smear campaigns against Muslim Democrats Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was put on full display on Monday morning when President Trump welcomed openly anti-Semitic Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban to the White House.
Trump to Hungary's far-right leader Viktor Orbán: "You're respected all over Europe. Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that's okay. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe." pic.twitter.com/F2J9gJgALZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 13, 2019
Unloading effusive praise on Orban as he does with every racist strongman who darkens the White House doors, Trump hand-waved away concerns about the way Orban has been systematically undermining democracy and made it clear that he had no problem with the way Orban has been cracking down on press freedoms and institutionalizing Holocaust revisionism.
It’s a slap in the face to American Jews coming literally hours after President Trump took to Twitter and publicly incited hatred against Rashida Tlaib for her recent comments about how Palestinians tried to create a safe haven for Jews after the Holocaust — comments that were immediately taken out of context by the caterwauling and pearl-clutching Republicans who are intent on tearing down the two most prominent Muslims in American politics out of sheer prejudice.
The ferocity of the responses from outspoken Islamophobes like Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), coupled with the absurdity of recent incidents in the anti-Semitism discourse — like the smearing of Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley as an “anti-Semite” and a Nazi for his criticism of Jewish valor-stealing Meghan McCain, who is not Jewish — makes it clear what’s really going on here.
The constant accusations of anti-Semitism at every tame remark doubly serve the white supremacist agenda by not only slandering Muslim reps but also by cheapening anti-Semitism as a concept, which helps to insulate right-wing anti-Semites after their supporters commit anti-Semitic massacres, which has happened twice in the past year.
They don’t actually care about Jewish people at all, or else they would have been as equally outraged by the President’s celebrating of Viktor Orban, who has been quietly rewriting his country’s role in the Holocaust and whitewashing the record of wartime anti-Semites.
POLITICO reports that after coming to power in 2010, one of his first acts was to appoint a Holocaust revisionist to the Holocaust Memorial and Documentation Center in Budapest, who immediately set out “to sanitize the record of Hungarian participation in the ghettoization and deportation of the country’s Jews and place full blame for the destruction of Hungarian Jewry on Germany.”
Since then, he has freely used anti-Semitic imagery in propaganda efforts, especially targeting Jewish billionaire George Soros, who is also the target of most of Donald Trump’s anti-Semitic dogwhistles and conspiracy theories. For example, consider this appalling excerpt of a recent speech that Orban gave at a celebration of the 170th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848:
“They do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honorable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs. They are not generous, but vengeful, and always attack the heart – especially if it is red, white and green [the colours of the Hungarian flag].”
But Orban’s arrival in Washington and President Trump disgusting celebration of the “controversial” (read: racist) leader was greeted with complete silence from Republicans, who would rather insult and disparage a woman of color for discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than hold their party leader accountable for enabling anti-Semitic bigots and using his social media platform to promote anti-Semitic conspiracies.
Their silence is all the proof we need to know that the constant hand-wringing over remarks from Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib is motivated by nothing by racism, hatred, and spite, and should never be engaged with or responded to with anything but disgust and condescension.