Bari Weiss on anti-Semitism in America

The "New York Times" op-ed writer discusses comments made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that some viewed as anti-Semitic.
5:57 | 03/04/19

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Transcript for Bari Weiss on anti-Semitism in America
A hot topic that's come up several times at this table lately are accusations that some of the newly elected democratic candidates are promoting anti-semitism, which is a subject our guest co-host, Bari Weiss, has spent her career writing about. So we're glad to have you here. Let me ask you this, you are a proud jewish girl. Yes. You had your bat mitzvah at -- what's the name of the place? Tree of life. The hit of a terrorist attack recently. Something switched with you after that terrorist attack. Tell us about that. I would say for the past decade or more I've been watching as all of you have the rising anti-semitism across Europe, cemeteries being defaced a holocaust survivor lynched in her apartment in Paris by her neighbors, people getting beat up in the street for wearing a yamaka or speaking hebrew in Berlin. I always thought America was different not just because of our love of religious liberty and the fact that our founders themselves embraced the jewish population in this country but the fact that we don't have a history of genocide and a flood of immigrants from countries where anti-semitism is the norm. But we've always been anti-semitism in this country. I remember during World War II, famously the St. Louis ship was famously turned back to go back to Germany because they would not accept them in this country. Fdr was our president at the Yes. There's always been country club anti-semitism and having to change your name anti-jewish prejudice. What's different is the fact that I thought America was an exception has changed. I am now worried that what we are seeing in Europe could be coming here and that's for a few reasons. The main one of which is the fact that conspiracy-minded thinking, the idea that Jews are a secret power that control the world, something that we see both on the right and left is rising. In politics where there's no center and the lunatic fringe is rising on the left and on the right, you kind of have a perfect storm. On the right, you have the far right saying the Jews aren't white and Christian enough. Alt-right, please. Excuse me, alt-right. On the left you're hearing them say the Jews are not victim enough so they have no place in American politics at the moment. On the left, isn't it mostly coming from muslims on the left? It's coming from people who try and claim that their criticism is just about the state of Israel when it's really not about criticizing Israeli policies. It's about saying of all the flawed states in the world, including Syria and Iran and North Korea and Russia and China, only one doesn't have the right to exist and that is the jewish state. So we've talked about this off line, personally and now on this show, but it's easy to spot anti-semitism when it's a bunch of crazy people with tiki torches screaming Jews will not replace us. What's trickier is tweets like congresswoman ilhan OMAR. That is harder to spot as anti-sem tick. When you hear all Jews must die, that's obviously eliminationist. The problem with anti-semitism from the far left is it oftentimes is struggled me the mainstream under the guise of Progressive values. So it says about itself, I'm just standing up for the downtrodden Palestinians which they are. I'm standing up for justice. I'm standing against racism. And so that kind of language is a siren song, including to Jews, 75% of whom vote for Democrats. So that's the problem with it. It's not as easy to spot oftentimes because it says we're just about criticizing Israel. Didn't Nancy Pelosi shut it down? Nancy Pelosi shut it down very aggressively with ilhan OMAR. The problem is that she still has a spot on the congressional foreign affairs committee and that's a real question. I want to ask you a question because you're mentioning the Palestinians and an independent U.N. Report into last year's protest along gaza's border fence involving Israeli security forces that resulted in the shooting deaths of more than 180 Palestinians concluded last Thursday that there are reasonable grounds to believe Israel violated international humanitarian law. Now, isn't it possible to oppose those human rights violations without being anti-semitic, in other words, criticizing the policies but not criticizing Israel? The answer is absolutely yes. Just as I am a proud American and I criticize Donald Trump's policy of separating families at the border which you know more about law than me, maybe a violation of international humanitarian law, that's 100% Doesn't make you anti-american? Not at all. It makes you, in fact, love America because you want it to stand up for its ideals. I am a liberal zionist and critical of the policies of the current Israeli government. I believe that Bebe Netanyahu is selling out the legacy of the holocaust when talks to leaders like Hungary. I believe he is desecrating what the jewish state is all about when he allows out and out racists into his political coalition. I'm not an anti-semite. When it crosses the line is when it becomes about dehumanizing Israelis and Jews and when you say that the largest jewish community on planet Earth 70 years after the holocaust does not have a right to exist in the jewish ancetral homeland. Everybody has to speak out. Bari's book will be out in the fall so we will be looking forward to that and we'll be

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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