In address to committee of the Israeli Knesset

Republican congresswoman Stefanik calls for “crushing” protests against Gaza genocide

Representative Elise Stefanik, the fourth-ranking House Republican, as chair of the Republican Conference, spoke before a committee of the Israeli Knesset Sunday to deliver a strident defense of the Israeli genocide in Gaza. She condemned the Biden administration for its token gestures of restraining the Netanyahu government, including withholding some 2,000-pound bombs which can level an entire city block.

Stefanik addressed her remarks to what the Wall Street Journal described as “a handful of lawmakers in the Israeli Parliament’s Caucus for Jewish and Pro-Israel Students on Campuses Around the World.” She presented herself as a front-line defender of Jewish students in the United States, whom she claimed were under constant attack on the campuses.

Elise Stefanik and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Israel, May 20, 2024. [Photo: Elise Stefanik]

She glorified her own performance as the witch-hunter in chief at several recent hearings of the House Education Committee, where Democrats and Republicans grilled university presidents from Harvard, MIT, Penn and other colleges, as well as a panel of K-12 school system superintendents. They denounced the educators for insufficient efforts to suppress protests against the Gaza genocide, helping spark the current wave of heavy-handed repression, including suspensions, expulsions, and the arrest of more than 3,000 students and supporters.

While declaring her support for “wiping those responsible for October 7th off the face of the earth,” she made clear in her remarks that she was really talking about all Palestinians, and perhaps even all Arabs. She denounced “the many times forces of evil have tried to destroy Israel and the Jewish people,” citing “the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, the Fedayeen raids of the 1950s and 60s, in the ’67 war, the ’73 war, the successive wars against Hamas in Gaza, and again, on that dark day, October 7th, 2023.” In order words, all armed resistance to the state of Israel is criminal and those involved should be treated as terrorists and murderers!

She contrasted the mass mobilization of Israeli youth into the military—based on compulsory service—with what she called “the pro-Hamas apologists” on US college campuses protesting “in a paroxysm of blood lust” and calling for the destruction of Israel.

Denouncing the Biden administration, saying there was no excuse for a policy of “dither and hide,” she called instead for “crushing antisemitism at home, and supplying the State of Israel with what it needs, when it needs it, without conditions, to achieve total victory in the face of evil.”

Stefanik’s trip to Jerusalem follows last Thursday’s vote in the House for the Israel Security Act, a purely symbolic bill to countermand Biden’s holding up delivery of the largest bombs to Israel. Sixteen Democrats joined a near-unanimous Republican caucus to pass the bill, which is unlikely to be taken up by the Senate and would certainly not survive a Biden veto.

The trip was not only an effort to promote the lying claim that the Republican Party—infested with white supremacists and neo-Nazis—is an adamant opponent of antisemitism. It was also aimed at elevating Stefanik in the eyes of the fascist ex-president Donald Trump, who has put her on the short-list for potential vice-presidential running mate this year.

While Stefanik began her fascistic diatribe by claiming to be “a lifelong admirer, supporter, and true friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” her own political record is nothing like that. Two years ago she came under attack from the Anti-Defamation League for echoing the antisemitic Great Replacement Theory, which claims that wealthy Jews are engineering and financing mass migration to the United States from Asia, Africa and Latin America to replace the white American population.

This followed the mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket by 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who was a reader of the fascist Daily Stormer web site and an admirer of such fascist mass killers as Brenton Tarrant, who murdered more than 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand. Gendron issued a 180-page manifesto on the subject of racist hatred of African Americans and the Great Replacement Theory before heading to Buffalo to carry out the slaughter.

The Anti-Defamation League criticized Stefanik, who represents a rural district in upstate New York, for a series of campaign ads in which she claimed that illegal immigrants were flooding the country because the Democratic Party regarded them as reliable future voters. “Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington,” the ad declared.

Citing the openly racist version of the Great Replacement Theory advocated by fascist pundits like Tucker Carlson, the local newspaper, the Times Union of Albany, wrote that Stefanik “isn’t so brazen as to use the slogans themselves; rather, she couches the hate in alarmist anti-immigrant rhetoric that’s become standard fare for the party of Donald Trump.”

Last week, on the second anniversary of the Buffalo supermarket massacre, 55 Jewish, civil rights and immigrants’ rights groups wrote to congressional leaders of both parties appealing for a halt to references to an “invasion” by peaceful migrants and to plans for “replacement” of white Americans by immigrants, both of which inspired the Buffalo gunman. They wrote:

Two years later, this same false notion of “replacement” and “invasion” is leveraged regularly by Members of Congress to further political agendas related to immigration and national security. They echo false claims of an “invasion,” which, under the twisted logic of the conspiracy theory, is purposefully orchestrated by a powerful Jewish cabal to upend white political power structures. This bigoted, dangerous rhetoric and its related dog whistles dehumanize migrants and communities of color, positioning them as an existential threat that must be met with violence.

Nothing will come of this appeal, however well intentioned.

It is said that birds of a feather flock together. In the case of the fascistic Republican Stefanik and the fascistic Zionists who applauded her remarks, it is not difficult to see what brings them together: a virulent hatred of the oppressed and a determination to exterminate them and destroy their defenders.