Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Assorted Thoughts on the Sanders Antisemitism Essay

Bernie Sanders wrote a piece in Jewish Currents on antisemitism. People are talking about it. I read it this morning (I've been traveling -- I knew of its existence, but I only had time to actually read it today). Here are my thoughts:

1) It is, on the whole, a very good piece. I like it. It's not perfect, but I don't expect perfect pieces on antisemitism from my politicians. On the spectrum of political analyses of antisemitism offered from a progressive vantage point, it definitely falls on the good side. I'd frankly be hard-pressed to think of another such essay by a prominent politician on this subject that I like better.

2) While I liked the piece, the reaction by some of his supporters to the ensuing conversation about it -- that if you didn't snap your neck violently nodding in agreement with every word, you were a traitor to the progressive cause -- really encapsulates the giant gulf between how I feel about Bernie (positively!) and how I feel about "the Bernie movement" (decidedly more wary).

3) That notwithstanding, my impression is that the essay is generally being well received, though of course those commenting on it tend to emphasize their points of disagreement or where they think there needs to be an expansion (generally on a more robust tackling of distinctively progressive iterations of antisemitism) -- which is reasonable and how commentary works. This isn't to say that every reaction to it is a good one (it pains me to say it, but I found Deborah Lipstadt's reply to be actually quite tendentious). But there was a lot of good out there, and not just from those naturally disposed to be Sanders' allies. See, for example, pieces by Yair Rosenberg and Alex Zeldin, as well as (from a further-left perspective) Abe Silberstein.

4) In particular, it is extremely notable, and laudatory, that Sanders expressed admiration for Israel's founding, and the reality of antisemitism that manifests as "criticism of Israel" in terms of seeking dissolution of the state outright or conspiratorial assertions of Jewish hyperpower. And it's especially notable, and laudatory, that he did it in this forum, with this audience. He deserves tremendous praise for that, just as he did for going on al-Jazeera and rejecting BDS.

5) It is also striking how little pushback I've seen (though I confess I haven't had time to do a full canvass) from Sanders allies -- some of whom are publicly rather ... let's go with "zealous" ... on this issue -- regarding Sanders' positive statements about Israel, the importance of its founding, the reality that anti-Israel rhetoric can be antisemitic, and his own personal connection and attachment to the nation. There have been few howls of betrayal that I've seen, few angry denunciations. That, too, tells us that the demand for uncompromising anti-Israel positioning as a political litmus test is weaker than it's often made out to be, even on the political left that makes up Sanders' base.

6) Finally, on that note -- one thing I'm hearing a lot from Bernie's critics dismissing this article is something like the following:
"What do we make of Sanders' claims that he's pro-Israel, thinks we should respect the enormous achievement of establishing Israel, and opposes calls to dissolve it given that people like Linda Sarsour and Rashida Tlaib (etc.) are his surrogates?"
But this cuts both ways -- for we could and should also ask:
"What do we make of Sarsour and Tlaib's (etc.) supposedly extreme and uncompromising hostility to Israel and all of its supporters, given that they both have enthusiastically endorsed a Jewish candidate who has publicly and explicitly declared his affinity for Israel, the need for progressives to respect its accomplishments, and the antisemitism latent in calling for its dissolution?"
If you harmonize the two questions with the answer "it means Bernie Sanders is lying, and his surrogates know he's lying", ask yourself what reason he has to lie -- given this publication, given his base, given what you say is the current trajectory of the left wing of the Democratic Party. Why would he bother?

So no: I don't think he's lying, and I don't think his surrogates think he's lying. What does it mean, then, that he's telling the truth -- and that he is nonetheless drawing in the supporters that he is?

Well, maybe it means that Sarsour and Tlaib and their fellows are less uncompromising on this matter than one might think. Maybe everyone's views are more nuanced, or less rigid, than we make them out to be. Maybe there are opportunities to make connections and do work together that are being falsely portrayed as impossible -- and perhaps the tenacious clinging to the belief in their utter impossibility is really just an excuse to avoid doing the hard work.

That'd be what I'd make of it all, anyway.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Israeli Supreme Court Upholds Deportation of Shakir

The Israeli Supreme Court has upheld the Israeli government's move to deport Human Rights Watch activist Omar Shakir from the country, citing his alleged support of BDS. The Court declined to say that HRW was itself a "a boycott organization", and therefore noted "it can request the employment of another representative who is not involved up to his neck in BDS activity."

There are ample reasons why I think Shakir was a poor choice for HRW to send off as its representative in Israel, and plenty of occasions where I think the quality (and neutrality) of his work could be justifiably questioned. Nonetheless, the standard for "expulsion from the country" is not coterminous with "work I think is subpar", and healthy democracies do not fear criticism (even when sometimes ill-formed). This is a dark day for those of us trying to stem the increasingly-rapid erosion of Israel's liberal character.

On that note, here's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, celebrating:
[A]nyone who works against the state should know that we will not allow him to live or work here.
Tell me that isn't creepy as all get out.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Things People Blame the Jews For, Volume LV: Chernobyl (and the Titanic, and 9/11)

A Russian television show ran a short film that, well, it mostly just tried to pack this whole "Things People Blame the Jews For" series into one segment:
Jews are responsible for the sinking of the Titanic, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, according to a short film broadcast recently on REN TV.
The documentary is an updated version of an earlier version broadcast in 2012, in which it was alleged that a group of “300 Jews, Illuminati and Freemasons” was behind the sinking of the British ship 100 years ago in order to cause an international crisis and take over the world.
We've already covered the Titanic here, and if 9/11 hasn't gotten an entry it's only because it was too easy. But I think Chernobyl, we genuinely haven't done before. Fukashima, yes (twice, in fact), but not Chernobyl.

So well done, REN TV, for keeping things at least a little fresh.

(Also, in a sign of the times, the Jewish Chronicle article linked to above was shortly after posting bombarded with social media trolls "thanking" them for their "revelation" about Chernobyl).

Almost Midway Roundup

It's been a hellacious semester for me -- I massively overcommitted, and have been traveling nearly every week for the past month or so. But we're approaching the end of the tunnel. This weekend I'm flying to Chicago for a conference, and then I have one more trip scheduled after that, and then I should be pretty well clear until Winter Break.

In reality, I'm probably past the midway point. But for the Chicago trip I'm flying into and out of Midway airport. Get it? Almost Midway? I know, I'm a riot.

Anyway, roundup time.

* * *

Last year, the University of Oregon Hillel was vandalized with the message "Free Palestine You Fucks". Everybody was appalled by this antisemitic act. But I noted that under certain relatively popular mantras about what antisemitism is, including those backed by groups like Open Hillel, one very easily could deny the antisemitic character of the incident. And lo and behold -- it appears the University of Oregon decided it could get away with not characterizing the event as an antisemitic hate crime.

Right-wing parties in Italy decline to support formation of a commission investigating antisemitism. BuT I ThoUghT aNTi-SeMitiSm iN EUroPe OnlY caMe frOM tHe leFT (and Muslims)!

This is not a parody: children attending the White House Halloween party were told to "build the wall". This is not a parody either: Trump staffer defends the decision by saying "Everyone loses their minds over everything, and nothing can be funny anymore."

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Patterns of Discourse and Omar's "Present" Vote

As you've probably seen, Rep. Ilhan Omar voted "present" on a House resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. She contended that the resolution, which passed 405-11 (not including the "present" votes of Omar and two of her colleagues), was a "cudgel in a political fight" and that recognition and accountability for human rights atrocities "should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics." She also suggested that the U.S. had no standing to speak out on the Armenian Genocide without recognizing the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide.

This explanation did not seem to satisfy many people. That includes me -- I think this was a terrible vote paired with a terrible apologia for the vote, and she deserves to be raked over the coals for it.

But since, apparently, a bit of genocide wishy-washiness is less hot and emotionally fraught than a debate over "Benjamins" (seriously: this is The Bad Place), I wonder if we might take this opportunity to reflect -- with cooler heads -- on some patterns that I think are repeating themselves

On the one hand: A great many people otherwise fond of or sympathetic to Ilhan Omar have been very sharply critical of her vote. She does have some defenders, but at the outset they seem to be relatively few and far between. On the other: many of Omar's critics are not people "otherwise fond of or sympathetic to" Ilhan Omar, and are less disappointed than they are elated to have a valid excuse to launch another pile-on.

People in the first category have certainly observed the fact of the second category and are uncomfortable contributing to the "pile-on", which they see as reflecting particular anti-Black and Islamophobic biases. After all, why is there such intense focus on Omar's "present" vote, as compared to the eleven Representatives who actually voted "no" (all Republicans) or even the other two "present" votes (Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson)? For example, Rep. Johnson, who apparently has gone on the record saying she denies the Armenian Genocide outright, would seemingly deserve an even greater degree of scorn. And of course, those who outright voted against the resolution should face even more intense condemnation.

There is, to be sure, an answer to the "why Omar" question that doesn't boil down to "because of her identity". She has a much higher profile than does Eddie Bernice Johnson or Paul Gosar, she styles herself as a human rights advocate, there are many people who are disappointed in her that probably have no particular interest or hope in what Virginia Foxx does. Nonetheless, it is hard to say with a straight face that Omar's identity is playing no role in the dynamic. And the effect remains that the Black Muslim women makes a mistake and gets obliterated for it even as other, predominantly White colleagues effectively get a free pass for the same or worse conduct.

And here's the real kicker: the genuine, non-prejudicial, fairly-motivated critics of Omar who are speaking out based on sincerely held and non-opportunistic commitments to human rights? I don't think there is anything they could have reasonably done (save not speaking out at all) to prevent their condemnation from contributing to the pile-on effect. Even if that's not what they want, even if it makes them queasy. The dynamics in play here go beyond them; in the current moment there is not a way to in any robust sense speak critically about Omar (including justifiably critically) without carrying the risk that it will be harnessed by more primordial political actors eager to hoist up the pinata again. It would be wrong to say that this outcome was desired by the genuine critics; it would I suspect be equally wrong to say it could have been avoided by those critics.

Do you get it? Do you see the pattern? In l'affaire Benjamins, it was often claimed that Omar's critics were wholly and entirely right-wing smear merchants, and that it was their fault -- or more than that, their desire -- that she be subjected to a completely over-the-top orgy of histrionic condemnations that seem far disproportionate to her offense. This allegation, in turn, infuriated those of her critics who were genuinely motivated by non-opportunistic liberal instincts and concerns about antisemitism, and who wanted to both send a clear message that "this is not okay" but had no desire to endorse a witch-hunt.  Yet Omar's defenders, in effect, viewed that entire posture as disingenuous -- crocodile tears by political arsonists. Omar's critics are her critics -- some just put on a better figleaf of respectability than others.

One might hope that this go-around might offer some critical distance illuminating the pattern. Some of Omar's defenders in the last controversy are among her critics this time; perhaps they can learn to empathize with their peers in recognizing the genuinely uncomfortable position they find themselves in, and the difficulty (if not impossibility) of insulating their valid criticisms from enlistment into more unsavory political projects. And I'd also hope that some of Omar's critics, for those whom this issue has a less immediate pull on their psyche, can see how she really is being singled out in a way that seems anomalous given her degree of offense compared to other wrongdoers (a recognition which by necessity acknowledges there is a degree of offense!). In the history of debates over recognizing the Armenian genocide, after all, she is by no means the only actor to have gotten it wrong.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Booing Trump in Washington: The Appearance isn't the Reality, But the Reality May Become the Appearance

Many of you saw that President Trump, who attended Game Five of the World Series in Washington yesterday, was roundly and loudly booed.
When the president was announced on the public address system after the third inning as part of a tribute to veterans, the crowd roared into sustained booing — hitting almost 100 decibels. Chants of “Lock him up” and “Impeach Trump” then broke out at Nationals Park, where a sellout crowd was watching the game between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. 
For many of the folks on my Twitter feed, this was not just a feel-good moment (though it was). It was also highly symbolic -- proof that the President is weak, that he has lost the support of the people, and that maybe his grip on the GOP in the Senate might weaken just enough to make impeachment actually viable.

I remain skeptical. Partially, that's because I don't think congressional Republicans are responsive to anything remotely resembling "the popular will" at this point. But partially, it's because I know the demographics of the areas surrounding Washington DC. Below are the 2016 electoral margins of DC and surrounding counties (all went for Hillary Clinton):
Washington (DC): 91/4
Montgomery County (MD): 75/19
Prince George's County (MD): 88/8
Fairfax County (VA): 64/29
Arlington County (VA): 76/17
Alexandria City (VA): 76/18
This is an area of the country where (to its credit!) Trump has always been despised. And if anything relatively wealthy suburban professional counties have gotten even more sour on Trump since 2016, and I'd suspect relatively wealthy suburban professional counties surrounding DC to be "even more so" on that front. So it maybe doesn't tell us that much about the views of America as a whole if a stadium full of fans from places like DC, Montgomery County, and Fairfax loudly booed Donald Trump.

But if one is looking for a silver lining, here it is: it might not have to.

The appearance of widespread revulsion at Donald Trump doesn't match a reality where Americans, as a whole, are very different from DC metro residents, specifically.

But it is also the case that, as a matter of psychology, the appearance of widespread revulsion at Donald Trump can help move the needle on the reality, even in circumstances where that appearance is in many ways an artifact of local demographics.

Most people don't know the particular political orientation of the metro DC area. Most people just see a crowd full of regular Joes and Josettes who roundly despite the President, and take that as a data point that the President is despised by many, many regular folks. And we know in politics that people often follow herds -- the political positions they take are constrained by the set of political positions they know to be acceptable. Trump appearing weak can easily cascade into Trump being weak. And given that Trump really is weak -- perhaps not as overwhelmingly disliked as he would be at National Park, but certainly sporting consistently mediocre poll ratings -- a high-profile, high-salience event where Americans seemed to unite around thinking Trump is awful may well actually do real political work. Even if the appearance mostly is artificial.

Things People Blame the Jews For, Volume LIV: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

You may have heard that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed.

You may not have heard that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is actually a Jewish Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot.

Hopefully, the reason you haven't heard the latter is because it's ridiculous. It's been floating about the more conspiracy-minded portions of the internet for years now, and of course is bubbling back up now that al-Baghdadi has been killed.

And if al-Baghdadi and ISIS really are Israeli/Jewish/Zionist plots, doesn't that mean America has spent the last several years bombing Israeli agents? You'd think that the anti-Israel conspiracy theorists would be thrilled!

In any event, I'll just quote the well-spoken words of a U.S. Congresswoman on the occasion of al-Baghdadi's death:
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was an evil man and a terrorist, who terrorized the world with violence and a message of hate. 
The world is a safer place without him.
We have deep gratitude for the brave men and women who carried out this dangerous operation.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Working Through Two New Polls on Antisemitism and BDS

Two very interesting surveys have just dropped on the subject of BDS and antisemitism in America.

The first is the AJC's survey of American Jews on the subject of antisemitism in America.

The second, a "Critical Issues" poll out of the University of Maryland, surveys all Americans on various Middle East policy related questions, including BDS.

Both have some intriguing findings that are worth discussing.

Start with the AJC poll. There's a lot of great stuff to unpack in here on how American Jews assess the lay of the antisemitic land. For one, it finally gives me some data on what American Jews think about BDS. Unlike Americans writ large, who've barely heard of BDS (we'll get into that more in the other poll), Jews have definitely heard about the BDS movement (76% are at least a little familiar with it, and 62% of "somewhat" or "very" familiar). There isn't a direct "do you support BDS" question, but they do ask about BDS and antisemitism. 35% say BDS is "mostly" antisemitic, 47% say it has "some antisemitic supporters", and 14% say it is simply "not antisemitic".

Of course, that middle response is vague -- it could mean anything from "BDS is not inherently antisemitic, but it's got a significant antisemitism problem" to "BDS is mostly fine, but sure, obviously it has some antisemitic supporters." Nonetheless, paired with some of the other responses -- such as the 84%(!) who view the statement "Israel has no right to exist" as antisemitic -- I think it is fair to infer that the majority of American Jews are, to say the least, not BDS fans.

In terms of broad assessments on antisemitism in America, things don't look great: 88% of Jews say it is a "very" or "somewhat" serious problem and 84% say it has increased in severity over the past five years. The silver lining is that most Jews have not been victimized by either physical or verbal antisemitic attack and most Jews are not avoiding Jewish spaces or advertising their Jewish status out of fear of antisemitic attacks.

But perhaps the more interesting data comes in terms of where American Jews think antisemitism is coming from, and who is mostly responsible for it. It's no surprise that most Jews are Democrats, most Jews lean liberal, and most Jews have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump (by a 22/76 margin -- whoof!). It might be a little more surprising -- at least given how the issue has been covered by both the Jewish and non-Jewish press -- how Jews assess the threat of antisemitism and the response to it on an ideological level.

Jews strongly disapprove of how Donald Trump is handling the threat of antisemitism in the United States -- literally, 62% "strongly disapprove", the overall approve/disapprove spread is 24/73. In terms of where the threat of antisemitism is strongest in America, the answer is "the extreme right" -- 49% of respondents say it is a "very serious" threat, compared to 15% for "the extreme left" and 27% for "extremism in the name of Islam". Add in the "moderately serious" threat respondents and the extreme right gets 78%, the extreme left 36%, and Islamic extremism 54%.

But that's dealing with "extremists". What about mainstream political parties? Here we see something that I think should blow some doors off. Asked to assess the Democratic and Republican parties' responsibility for contemporary antisemitism on a 1 - 10 scale (where 1 is "no responsibility" and 10 is "total" responsibility), Democrats saw 75% of respondents give them a grade of 5 or below (i.e., the bottom half of the scale), versus 22% at 6 or higher (the modal response was a "1" -- no responsibility -- the second most common response was a "2"). For Republicans, by contrast, just 38% of respondents gave them a 5 or below score, while 61% scored them above a 6. Their modal response was an "8", the second most common response a "10".

The way it's been covered in the press, one would think that Jews are fearful of left antisemitism and furious at the Democratic Party for not tamping down on it. In reality, the consensus position in the Jewish community is that the most dangerous antisemitism remains far-right antisemitism, and that in terms of political responsibility the Republican Party is a far more dangerous actor than the Democratic Party is. That consensus has the added advantage of reflecting reality -- it's obviously true that right-wing antisemitism (the sort that gets Jews killed) in America is more dangerous than other varieties, and it's obviously true that the GOP has been nothing short of abysmal in policing itself and reining in its antisemitic conspiracy mongers (thinking instead that its Israel policies entitle it to a nice fat "get-out-of-antisemitism-free" card).

Now the question is whether Jewish institutions and the Jewish media (or -- dare to dream -- the mainstream media) will follow the lead on this, and start reallocating attention and emphasis accordingly.

Now let's move to the Critical Issues poll. It covers a bunch of ground on Mid-East policy, but it is in particular one of the first I've seen to try and gauge American attitudes towards BDS, so let's focus on that.

Perhaps the most striking finding is being slightly misreported -- the Jerusalem Post says it found that 48% of Democrats support BDS. But that's not right -- the true number is probably around half that.

The survey first asked how much people had heard about BDS -- and for a majority of respondents (including 55% of Democrats), the answer was "nothing". They hadn't heard of BDS at all. The next-most common response was "a little" (29%), while "a good amount" and "a great deal" combined for just 20%. Only those who had heard at least "a little" about BDS were then asked whether they supported it or not. Overall, 26% of respondents supported it ("strongly" or "somewhat"), while 47% opposed it, and 26% were neutral. For Democrats, that split was 48% support (14% "strongly", 34% "somewhat"), 37% neutral, and 15% opposed. So that's where the 48% figure comes from -- but again, it excludes the majority of Democrats who've never heard about BDS at all. Add them in (and assume they'll be at "neither support nor oppose"), and the percentage of Democrats supporting BDS probably falls into the mid-20s.

Now obviously, that's itself noteworthy. But it's hard to know what to make of it, especially given that most of those who have heard about BDS still have only heard "a little" about it. That in itself is worth pointing out -- for all the indigestion this issue is causing the Jewish community, it's barely made an imprint on the polity writ large: 80% of all Americans have heard little or nothing about it. It's hardly some sort of generational wave that's caught the attention of the nation.

Still, it would have been interesting to know if those who had heard more were more or less likely to support the campaign -- my guess is actually it would yield greater polarization (those who've heard a lot about BDS would be more likely to either strongly support or strongly oppose it). But -- probably because the number of respondents who've heard more than "a little" about BDS is so small -- we don't have data at that level of granularity.

In any event: What does seem to be the case is that there is a sizable -- though still minority -- chunk of Democratic voters who (a) haven't heard that much about BDS and (b) say they support it "somewhat" (recall the "somewhats" vastly outstripped the "stronglys"). My suspicion is that this represents a set of voters who (a) are pretty pissed off at Israel and Netanyahu right now, and don't feel particularly inclined to think it is pursuing an end to the occupation in good faith, and (b) view BDS vaguely as a means of exerting pressure on Israel to change course, or if not that, at least signal that they don't endorse its current tack. In practice this probably means only supporting more "moderate" forms of BDS (if you even want to call it that) -- sanctions against settlements yes, full-fledged academic boycotts no -- and as I've written before that is actually a predictable consequence of BDS going "mainstream": it will lose some of its harder edges (much to the consternation of its founding, more radical core).

Basically, these are people who are looking for ways to signal "what Israel is doing is not okay", and while I strongly doubt they are ride-or-die on BDS, absent other avenues for expressing that sentiment they'll at least be open to some form of "BDS" -- albeit probably not the more radical iterations of it that, say, characterize the PACBI guidelines. The challenge for pro-Israel Democrats isn't, I think, that the 2020 Democratic electorate is going to demand that the US treat Israel as a pariah state. The challenge is that these voters are looking for ways to vent their frustration at Israel, and are going to want their candidates to speak in terms of sticks as well as carrots with respect to how Israel is engaged with. We're already seeing a bit of that -- and it's frankly a healthy move.

The survey asks a few more message-based questions about BDS (again, only to those who've heard at least a "little" about it), leading questions of the "is it antisemitism or is it legitimate" variety. I'm very much not a fan of the wording of those questions, and don't think they tell us much other than effective messaging frames to make people more positively disposed towards BDS (including that "Opposing Israeli policy does not equal anti-Semitism" is the salt of Israel discourse -- there's no recipe that isn't tastier with at least a sprinkle of it, so why not just toss it on everything?).

The final question the survey asks on this topic returns back to all respondents (not just those who've heard of BDS) and asks about "laws that penalize people who boycott Israel". One can quibble again about the verbiage here (the laws in question impose no criminal penalties, they just bar government contractors from also boycotting Israel -- but then, wouldn't many naturally view that as "penalty", albeit a non-criminal one?), but the numbers are nonetheless striking: 72% of respondents (including 62% of Republicans) oppose such laws. So that's probably something worth keeping in mind (again, might I recommend replacing those laws with general prohibitions on nationality-based discrimination? I bet that would poll much better).

Monday, October 21, 2019

Finding Something Nice To Say: Tulsi Gabbard Edition

My position on the 2020 Democratic primary, and all the diverse candidates running -- from Kamala Harris to Elizabeth Warren to Pete Buttigieg to Bernie Sanders -- has always been "There are many great candidates running for the Democratic nomination, and also Tulsi Gabbard."

That hasn't changed. But you should always find something nice to say about everyone, and here's mine for her.

Nobody should disrespect Tulsi Gabbard's military service. That principle I think is pretty well adhered-to, and obviously it doesn't mean that she's immune from critique due to her military service. But in particular, I do not think it is wrong or hypocritical for Rep. Gabbard to take the positions that she does on international affairs given her military service. That is something I have seen people do -- calling her out for opposing "regime-change" wars in the Middle East given that she effectively participated in such wars herself.

But military veterans are allowed to come to the conclusion that the wars they've fought in were ill-advised or unjust. It is wrong (and foolhardy) to insist that all veterans, to the extent that they rely upon their combat service in public affairs, can only speak out in favor of more interventions or operations of the sorts they participated in.

Rep. Gabbard's foreign policy positions are abysmal (here ends the "nice" part). But they're not more abysmal because of her military service. On that score, she deserves the same respect accorded to any other veteran -- including respecting her right to come to her own conclusion that the military operations she participated in reflected bad American policy.

Anyway, having said all that -- Rep. Gabbard's campaign continues to get no traction, and it is to the Democratic electorate's great credit that they have  shown no evidence of even being slightly tempted by her brand of Assadist-apologizing faux "anti-imperialism".