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Johnson’s Israel Pincer Movement

mike johnson israel
There’s no question that Mike Johnson’s pro-Israel crusade has had the added benefit of putting his enemies on defense, both on the left and on the right. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image
Tina Nguyen
May 22, 2024

Perpetually embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson appears to have found an unlikely unifying message on one of the most polarizing issues of our time: Israel’s war in Gaza. In recent weeks, Johnson has pushed a flurry of legislation aimed at bolstering support for Israel while combating antisemitism, including non-binding resolutions as well as a bill outlining prosecutable antisemitic hate crimes. Last month, of course, Johnson also went to Columbia University, the epicenter of the debate over antisemitic speech on college campuses. He followed up that culture war pilgrimage by empowering multiple congressional committees to investigate antisemitism in academic institutions across the country.

Johnson, according to those close to him, hasn’t launched this campaign cynically. A pedigreed member of the Christian Right, Johnson has long been a righteous believer in the concept that defending Israel and the Jewish people is a mandate from God, as I’ve written about recently. But there’s no question that Johnson’s pro-Israel crusade has also had the added benefit of putting his enemies on defense, both on the left and on the right.