When antisemitism is just a side issue

As I write this, we’re just a few hours away from finding out if this Iranian state-television host will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom:

Corbyn’s chances of winning are slim, but after 2016, who can rule it out?

Bret Stephens acknowledges that many, maybe even most Labour voters aren’t antisemitic. But by their actions, they’re showing that they don’t think antisemitism is a deal-breaker:

…a ballot for Trump did not automatically mean that his voters shared his bigotries. Nor did it necessarily mean that they weren’t embarrassed by them.

It just meant that those bigotries weren’t deal-breakers. If their candidate was a birther, they could live with it. If he thought celebrity was a license for sexual predation, they could live with it. If he wanted to impose a religious test on immigrants; or discredit a judge on account of his ethnic background; or characterize the bulk of Mexican immigrants as “rapists” — that may all have been very unfortunate.

But, again, they could live with it. To adapt a line, they proved that the only thing necessary for bigots to be normalized is for the unbigoted to shrug.

[…]

As with Trump’s voters, there are all sorts of explanations and excuses for why Britons might vote Labour. Some feel disgusted by Johnson, who (like Hillary Clinton) stirs deep personal antipathies. Some see a Labour government as the likeliest way of stopping Brexit. Some are convinced that only Labour can save the country’s National Health Service.

The rationales vary and multiply. But they stop at this: Under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party has become, in the words of many of its own members (or former members), “institutionally anti-Semitic.” Dwell on the word “institutionally”: It means it isn’t just a matter of some bad apples. The question for the British electorate — and for anyone else who takes a rooting interest in the country’s politics — is whether or not they seriously care.

The latest evidence comes in the form of a recently leaked 53-page document by the 2,500-member Jewish Labour Movement (J.L.M.) to Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. It chronicles “relentless” and “daily” incidents of anti-Semitism within the party.

Just this week, in Jersey City, we saw where this sickness can spread if it’s left unchecked. And we’ve learned that some people are only concerned about it if they can use it blame the other team.

“A really futile and stupid gesture”

It’s Bret Stephens, whose very presence in the New York Times is an affront to Democrats, so they won’t listen to him.  But he argues that rabidly opposing the Supreme Court nomination of Bret Stephens is likely doomed to fail and will probably hurt some Democratic Senators’ re-election chances:

Kavanaugh will almost certainly be confirmed. Democrats who had pinned their hopes on flipping Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski probably aren’t going to get their wish, since both Republican moderates voted to confirm Kavanaugh to his current judgeship in 2006 and have since spoken approvingly of his nomination. Rand Paul can also be counted on to feign political independence, but he usually falls into line.

Of course it’s possible Kavanaugh will make a bad public impression, like Robert Bork. Or maybe there will be a #MeToo revelation, like with Clarence Thomas. Or maybe Democrats will figure out a way to kick a vote past the midterms. In which case, Democrats can seize their chances. For now, however, the first question Democrats ought to ask themselves is whether they really have political capital to waste on a losing battle.

[…]

A plurality of Americans already want Kavanaugh confirmed, according to a Rasmussen poll. The numbers will likely improve once Americans get a closer look at this temperate, intelligent, decidedly non-scary nominee. And Democrats will again play to type as mindless obstructionists and one-note alarmists — the same overheated opposition that, as the Times’s Jeremy Peters reported last month, only hardens support for Trump.

Stephens also argues that Kavanaugh – like Roberts and Gorsuch, and Ginsburg and Breyer – is undeniably qualified for the job.  Really, aside from Harriet Miers, I can’t remember a SCOTUS nominee who wasn’t qualified.  (Mind you, some Trump nominees for lower federal courts almost make Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro look good.)

Incidentially, the late arch-conservative Antonin Scalia was confirmed 98-0 for his Supreme Court seat by the U.S. Senate, and only three Senators voted against confirming The Notorious RBG.   Imagine that happening with anyone in 2018 America.