Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Holocaust tweet was a gift to Democrats
In today’s political environment, where everyone is either a Nazi or communist — and, as ever, the Jews are unhappily stuck in the middle — it was almost bound to happen.
Like so many discarded blue face masks spread across the asphalt of a shopping center parking lot, the gauntlet was thrown down on May 17th. That’s the day Food City — a Georgia supermarket chain — announced that employees who verify their “full vaccination” can work without facemasks if they display a vaccination “logo” on their name badges.
That was something conservative Republican iconoclast Marjorie Taylor Greene, Congresswoman for Georgia’s 14th congressional district, could simply not resist.
Taylor Greene, like most Republicans, is skeptical of masking policies that seem to no longer have much empirical justification. Many have their doubts about Covid vaccines too. Most conservatives see the obsession with masks and vaccines as evidence that millions have ceded control over their personal lives to the government; the eagerness of the corporate world to keep the flocks in line rankles conservatives even more.
It was not only her position that rankled the internet, but the way she expressed it:
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo,” tweeted Greene, “just like the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
To make her analogy clear, she continued, “Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.”
These comments, and the outrage that followed, could not have appeared at a more opportune time for the Democrats. Facing growing political heat over silence as American Jews suffer violent attacks “sparked by” military clashes between Gaza Strip militants and Israel, Greene presented a perfect opportunity to score political points.
In other words, if there were no Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Democrats would have had to invent her. But tempting as it is to say they did invent her — spun and distorted her into something she isn’t — they didn’t.
Not that Greene is any more a “Nazi” than Schumer and Pelosi, beloved by Wall Street, are communists. Yes, her filter is poor and naive. Her choices of friends, theories of the universe and metaphors lack the sheen of consultancy guidance, focus groups or, often, much thought.
She has a checkered, albeit brief, history — most of it rhetorical or notional — with Jews. Based on claims she is too friendly with “extremists” or “extremism,” in January, the House took the unusual step of stripping her of all committee assignments.
In contrast, Democrats have done nothing to address the problems within their own caucus. While most American Jews are Democrats, those seriously involved in Jewish issues express growing concern that the Democratic Party is home to a substantial caucus committed to rabid anti-Israel sentiment and barely concealed antisemitism. That this small group holds outsized influence on the Democrats’ agenda towards Israel is crystal clear to anyone paying attention.
The contest is uneven. Unlike The Squad, whose supporters cheer at vile anti-Jewish rhetoric and tropes, Greene gains little politically by saying dumb things about the Jews. She does, however, embarrass the national party, which is committed to a consistently pro-Israel foreign policy and attracting increasingly politically conservative Jews, especially among the growing Orthodox segment. Greene’s yellow-star gaffe, then, fell like welcome rain for the Democrats. Quickly, the usual outrage jockeys made the usual condemnations and demanded the usual denunciations.
But to those the outrage machine was hoping to shame, the tweet was of no lasting significance. The Republican Party quickly denounced the remarks, but more importantly, the tweet seems to have triggered virtually no outrage among most Republican Jews.
The truth is that, since early 2020, the yellow-star and ghetto comparisons have been woven into more after-shul and Shabbat table conversations here in New York’s Orthodox community than I can count. How quickly we forget that New York’s governor was found to have violated Jews’ constitutional rights by creating Covid “red zones” around Jewish neighborhoods and institutions. The comparison to yellow stars and ghettos was inescapable to us. Online, the GOP was once again in its own usual spot between a rock and hard place, because the Democrats succeeded again — with a little help from Rep. Greene — in putting it there. Its only winning strategy was one it is incapable of deploying: ignoring the Democratic media playbook, changing the game and redrawing the frame. But the GOP lacks party discipline and self-respect, among other things.
So instead, Republicans lined up for the usual condemnations, voted the usual votes, and headed together to wherever it is shepherds lead sheep.
Ron Coleman is a partner in the New Jersey office of the Dhillon Law Group and conservative commentator and activist. He is most active on Twitter at @roncoleman.