Pompeo to AIPAC: Democratic Lawmakers, Politicians Mainstreaming Anti-Semitism

Pompeo vows to fight Jew hatred: 'anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism'

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo / Getty Images
March 25, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on Monday that growing anti-Semitism across the globe, including in the United States, will not be tolerated by the Trump administration and that efforts to delegitimize Israel will not be tolerated, according to comments before a pro-Israel crowd at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual gathering in Washington, D.C.

Pompeo, in some of his clearest remarks on the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide, said that anti-Zionism is tantamount to anti-Semitism, despite claims from many on the far-left that attacks on Israel are not anti-Semitic in nature.

With freshman Democratic lawmakers like Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and others trying to turn support for Israel into a partisan fight, Pompeo told AIPAC that "anti-Semitism is a cancer metastasizing again in the Middle East, in Europe, and here in the United States."

With anti-Semitism percolating on U.S. college campuses across the country, under the guise of anti-Israel activism, Pompeo took the step of declaring those who bill themselves as anti-Zionist as anti-Semitic.

"This bigotry is taking on an insidious new form in the guise of 'anti-Zionism,'" Pompeo said. "It's infested college campuses in the form of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement."

"It's discussed in our media. It's supported by certain members of Congress—not that they're here tonight," Pompeo said, referring to a handful of Democratic politicians who decided to boycott the annual pro-Israel get-together. "Now, don't get me wrong, criticizing Israel's policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy. But criticizing the very existence of Israel is not acceptable. Anti-Zionism denies the very legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people."

Anti-Semitism continues to be taught across the globe, with many using Israel's existence to forward the ideology of hatred, Pompeo said.

"Today I'm worried," he told the crowd. "Indeed I am deeply worried about an old threat re-emerging to Israel and Jews around the world: anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism is a cancer metastasizing again in the Middle East, in Europe, and here in the United States."

"Western civilizations—and our youth, in particular—are losing first-hand experience with the Holocaust and its survivors as the postwar generation dies out," he said. "I thought about that when I visited the Yad Vashem [Holocaust] memorial on my recent trip to Israel."

"Professors teach our children that Israel is the epitome of imperialism," he said. "Journalists, who help drive our public debate, don't always take the time to consider facts or think critically. And worst of all, some politicians think anti-Semitism can actually win them votes."

Pompeo vowed the Trump administration will not stand idly by as the hatred of Israel and Jews continues to grow, even in America itself.

"Know with confidence that the Trump Administration will not grow weary of this fight," Pompeo said. "To abandon it would mean to abandon our founding principles.

"As Secretary of State, and as a Christian, I am proud to lead American diplomacy to support Israel's right to defend itself, to stand with the Jewish people, and to champion the cause of religious liberty."

With terrorist forces having fired scores of rockets at Israel in recent says, Pompeo also told AIPAC that his State Department is working to ensure Israel's ability and right to defense.

"We have to correct the record," he said. "Israel should be admired, not attacked. Embraced, not vilified. Emulated, not ostracized. President Trump has made the fight against anti-Semitism a priority."

"Every decent human being has the responsibility to fight anti-Semitism," Pompeo said. It's an affront to religious liberty. It denies the rights of Jews to worship their God. It attacks what it means to be Jewish, ethnically and religiously."

"But Americans have a special responsibility to combat this scourge. Why?" Pompeo asked. "Because religious freedom sits at the core of our founding. It's in our Constitution's Bill of Rights as the first freedom."

"It's one of those essential freedoms, from which all others are derived. And it's because I'm a champion of religious freedom, and because I'm an American, that I'm here today to tell you: The United States stands with the Jewish people and Israel, in the fight against the world's oldest bigotry!"