A top Clinton confidant and former top Bush aide joined together in support of Israel and in condemning hateful rhetoric, including that espoused by far-left members of Congress, as thousands of pro-Israel demonstrators converged in Washington, D.C.
Marc Thiessen, a former chief speechwriter for then-President George W. Bush, and Philippe Reines, a longtime confidant of Hillary Clinton, spoke out Tuesday on “The Story,” with Thiessen praising the former first lady for her “clarity” on the Hamas invasion.
Thiessen nodded to the fact he and Reines often sparred politically back in the era of the Clintons and Bushes, while saying Reines’ former boss is a “wonderful” voice on the left in support of Israel’s right to exist amid Hamas terror.
“Hillary Clinton has been a paragon of clarity on this issue,” he said. “She’s been wonderful in speaking out against Hamas and against cease-fires and all the rest of it.”
Clinton angered some of her Democratic base when she published a staunch op-ed declaring a cease-fire in Gaza would be a mistake that leaves Hamas in power there.
“For now, pursuing more limited humanitarian pauses that allow aid to get in and civilians and hostages to get out is a wiser course,” she wrote, adding that doing what the far-left wants in this regard has a tendency to “freeze conflicts rather than resolve them.”
Thiessen added that there is antisemitism on the far right and far left but that they are not the same type of vitriol.
He said right-wing antisemitism tends to come in the form of “fringe” neo-Nazi entities like those who converged on Charlottesville, Va., years ago chanting that “Jews will not replace us.”
Meanwhile, on the left, antisemitism is an “elite phenomenon,” where people in positions of power allow hate to spread on campus and elsewhere.
“This is happening at our elite universities and it also exists in the halls of Congress — You have [Michigan Congresswoman] Rashida Tlaib and [Minnesota Congresswoman] Ilhan Omar, who are virulent anti-Semites, and they’ve been tolerated in the Democratic caucus for far too long,” Thiessen said.
“I think a lot of people are waking up and seeing that there’s this – this creeping antisemitism that has leached into the Democratic Party, and we all have to police our movements,” he said.
Theissen further remarked he is an equal-opportunity critic of hate from either side of the aisle, adding that the elite sources of bigotry give license to those on campus to chant genocidal phrases like “from the river (Jordan) to the sea (Mediterranean).”
Meanwhile, Reines echoed Thiessen’s criticism of his fellow Democrat, Tlaib, saying that once someone is told what “From the river to the sea” means, they should know not to repeat it.
“When you do repeat at that point, you can no longer claim ignorance – I don’t know whether they’re supposed to learn that in grade school or high school. But as a young adult, once you do hear that and it’s explained to you, then be quiet,” he said. Reines added that the young pro-Hamas protesters should be given slight leeway based on youthful ignorance, until they are similarly informed of the truth.
“What’s particularly concerning to me is not just the students, but the faculty and the administrators,” he said.
“I have been shocked by the number of faculty who have just gone well beyond the pale to make incendiary comments. And they… know better and they say it anyway. They are supposed to be setting an example to the student body.
“They know damn well that when they make these comments… they are going to be mimicked and echoed by a young student community,” Reines continued.
He added that peaceful protest is different than hateful protest, in that no one has to “love Israel” or even the Jewish people, but that there is a definitive contrast between Tuesday’s “heartening and hopeful” bipartisan pro-Israel march and the intimidation seen on campus by left-wing pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
The pro-Israel event in Washington seemed very politically diverse, with speakers including right-wing Evangelical Rev. John Hagee, to House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., to left-wing CNN commentator and ex-Obama adviser Van Jones.
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