Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Was George Washington an Anti-Semite?

George Washington
By Robert Wenzel

I ask the above silly question because of what is going on at the present time in the United States House of Representatives.

But before I go to the heart of my commentary, I must first make clear I am no socialist but I am about to defend a socialist.

The socialist congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a bookstore last week said:
I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.
Then,  over the weekend, she tweeted:
I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.
This sounds like a perfectly reasonable stance. In fact, it appears that Omar is doing nothing but echoing the advice given by George Washington in his farewell address (my bold).
 The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible...even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences... 
[I]f I may even flatter myself that [my commnets here] may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
And yet the House is in an uproar over Omar's echoing the spirit of this Founding Father.

The Hill reports:
The House will vote Wednesday on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D-Minn.) latest controversial comments about the U.S.-Israel relationship, a senior Democratic aide said Monday.
Omar has come under fire for saying at a Washington bookstore forum last week that pro-Israel advocates are pushing "allegiance to a foreign country."
Staffs from the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) worked on the resolution over the weekend.
It is a remarkable jump to claim anti-Semitism when Omar is simply stating concerns about support for a foreign country.

And she is correct in warning about outsized support for some foreign countries (and we are talking especially about Israel here), which is present within much of American political leadership.

Indeed, back in October of last year, I reported on comments made at Politicon by former New Jersey Governor, and confidant of President Trump, Chris Christie (my bold):
Chris Christie was a large presence at Day 1 of Politicon, appearing on multiple panels.
The convention started off with Christie in a Q & A with Elsie Jordan, MSNBC/NBC news analyst, asking the questions...
[He] went onto say that in the middle east "Our guiding star is Israel" and that the first consideration for the United States in the region must be to protect Israel.
I caught up with him after the Q&A and asked him why he said what he said about Israel.
He said that Israel was the only democracy in the region and also that the United States had a "special relationship" with Israel.
I followed up with this question:
So you reject George Washington's advice in his farewell address to not meddle in the affairs of other countries?
He looked directly at me and replied:
I don't think that applies to the Israeli situation.
More from The Hill:
A copy of the resolution's text obtained by The Hill does not specifically cite Omar's latest comments. 
It does state that "accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious, bigoted history"...
Maybe they need to go a bit further back in American history.

Now, given that I am a proponent of the PPS, it is difficult for me to wake up in the morning, take a shower, drink coffee and support just about any country, so I don't carry any specific animus toward Israel. I am just not in favor of U.S. special relations with Israel or for that matter any other country including the one from where my grandparents hailed, Poland.

That said, I like Jews. On a personal level, I have probably gotten more breaks, throughout my life from Jews than any other group. And I like to be around them. I find them to be funny, business savvy, intelligent and with a tradition of wisdom that you just can't help notice (and are wise to absorb)--and a very long time ago there was Leah. So I can't be put in the anti-semitic camp in any way.

But I can be put in the anti-special allegiance camp, right next to Ilhan Omar and George Washington.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here


  1. It has come to the point that criticizing any Israeli policy or any prominent Jew for anything has become anti Semitic.

    1. It's just a specific instance of the more general faulty logic that if you criticize an activity of the state, then you must be against that activity (or for its inverse). If you're against government schools, then you're against education; if you're against US government military interventions in the Middle East, then you're pro-dictator; if you're against Obamacare, then you're against health insurance; if you're against federal-government management of borders, then you're for unlimited migration.

      It shows very limited thinking, as if the only two options are those presented by the state.

  2. @AOC has jumped into this controversy on Twitter with some good posts too.