Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to absolve Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after Omar lumped the United States and Israel into the same basket as the terrorist groups of the Taliban and Hamas. Pelosi said “We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification.”
“Clarifications” on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments have an interesting history.
Progressive professor and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill offered a clarification after he quoted the tagline of the Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist group, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which calls for the eradication of Israel. Hill “clarified” his comment that he was actually seeking a “radical change within Israel, not a desire for its destruction,” to convert the Jewish State into a bi-national state. He implied he wants a purely Arab state of Palestine and the end of Israel as a Jewish State. That was clarity enough for his to keep his job at Temple University.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has a similar view about Israel and she tied it to the Holocaust. She told an outright lie that Israel was established in “trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust” at the expense of her Palestinian Arab ancestors. People criticized her remarks in failing a basic truth that the land of Israel has been center of Judaism for nearly 4,000 years and modern Zionism predates the Holocaust by many decades. The whitewashing of the active role her ancestors played in blocking Jews from entering Palestine in fleeing Europe – killing over 100,000 Jews – was beyond insensitive. Tlaib remained defiant tweeting “I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda,” in an attempt to invert her vile anti-Semitism as a charge against others who note basic facts.
Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan was a little less elegant in asking people to stop saying he’s an anti-Semite, clarifying “I’m anti-Termite.” That seemed to be enough for him to remain in a vaunted position with numerous politicians and celebrities quoting him.
The “clarifications” of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites like Omar, Tlaib, Hill and Farrakhan are additional opportunities for them to spew venom. Their desired absolution cannot be granted by leaders like Nancy Pelosi, and each and everyone of us must hold the bigots to account.
After the Palestinian political-terrorist group HAMAS launched 4,000 rockets into Israel most recently, Omar pointed the finger at many groups she felt committed human rights abuses and war crimes, tweeting “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” lumping leading democracies with terrorist groups. The condemnation from Jews and American patriots was swift. As was the defense from fellow Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who tweeted:
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.“
Tlaib has no such courage.
In December 2019, after two Black people shot up a kosher store in Jersey City, NJ killing two, Tlaib tweeted “This is heartbreaking. White supremacy kills,” pointing the finger at White people whom she assumed committed the anti-Semitic murders. When Tlaib found out that the killers were actually Black, she deleted the tweet and then generically condemned anti-Semitism but not from Black people.
For Tlaib, the murderers and anti-Semites should only be called out if they’re White.
Ilhan Omar remarkably admitted that Hamas and the Taliban commit atrocities. Rashida Tlaib can do no such thing, as she fights to defend Hamas terrorists who kill Israeli Jews and shields Black anti-Semitic murderers from public condemnation.
There is a growing movement for the U.S. Congress to look much like America. The argument goes that a representative government should resemble its constituents which would be better able to incorporate their perspectives when passing laws.
In the early years of American democracy, the halls of government were populated by White Christian men. Over time, women and Blacks were given the right to vote and ultimately began running for and winning seats in government.
The tapestry of America can be seen in a picture of the 117th Congress.
In addition to outward appearance is the lived realities of people’s experiences, feelings and emotional state.
There are Americans who are mentally unstable. Who are racists and misogynists. Who are psychopaths, anti-Semites and abusers. These individuals are represented by members of Congress and are also members of Congress. It was true when America was only governed by White Christian men and is true now with people with a spectrum of backgrounds.
America’s government looks and thinks more like swaths of America.
Some of today’s notable anti-Semites in Washington, D.C. are Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). While the passions of Jew haters have representation in government, are there enough people to properly represent Americans’ animosity towards Jews?
According to the Anti-Defamation League 2015 poll, 10% of Americans hold anti-Semitic beliefs. With 100 senators and 435 members of the House, the right number of anti-Semites in government should be 53 politicians. The three infamous anti-Semites may stand out because they have to pull above their weight. Americans may crave more voices disparaging Jews. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) seemingly know as much, and are leaning in to be carried by the tailwinds of hate.
A Congress that speaks and votes like the worst parts of America thinks, is being showcased by Representatives Omar, Tlaib and Greene today. They are a mirror of the ugliest parts of our society. That frame will only widen and darken should we fail to collectively change course.
Freshman Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) whose South Bronx district is the poorest in the nation, came up to Westchester shortly after a mini-war between Gaza and Israel and a spike in anti-Semitism in June 2021. He spoke passionately to the crowd of 100 about both topics.
The Afro-Latino gay congressman made clear that he strongly objected to the direction of many progressive politicians in actively defaming Israel, in what he called the terrible “Corbynization of progressive politics,” after the British Labour Party leader who frequently attacked the Jewish State and was often accused of anti-Semitism.
Torres noted that the various smears against Israel are patently untrue. He railed against the charge that Israel is “an apartheid state” where Arabs have more rights than in many neighboring Arab countries. He said the claim that Israel is committing a “genocide” against Arabs is absurd when the Arab population in Israel has skyrocketed. To label Israel with such charges is either a boldface lie or demands new definitions of apartheid and genocide.
He added that the number of United Nations resolutions against Israel “boggles the imagination.” He questioned why there was no B.D.S. (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against China, Myanmar, Turkey or Iran for their actual human rights abuses and attacks against minority populations.
Torres said his only conclusion for the double standards and demonization of Israel is gross anti-Semitism. He thought it was horrible and wanted to have absolutely nothing to do with such sentiments. He declared that it was appropriate to claim support of Israel as a liberal priority and wanted to become the “poster child for progressives for Israel.” It was time for “visibly pro-Israel voices to be heard in the public square.”
He then paused for questions from the enthusiastic Orthodox Jewish audience.
When asked about the rise of the anti-Israel voices, Torres discussed two principle sources: education and social media.
Torres pointed out that many schools have been indoctrinating students with anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Most people in the United States don’t know about the actual rights of Arabs in Israel, the cleansing of Jews from Arab lands or even much about the Holocaust in Europe.
He called Twitter the “new guillotine.” He claimed that social media poisons the narrative as people with certain agendas feed fanaticism to millions of followers. Torres thought it was hard for the “center” to have a voice in social media as the entire business model rewarded extreme sentiments. He wants to hold those tech-media companies accountable for their spread of hate.
In searching for a new direction, Torres said it was time for progressives to “expand the scope of intersectionality to include Jews.” An average Jew suffers the greatest number of hate crimes in the United States and it was time to include the Jewish community in reciprocal allyship.
Torres recounted how the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists for America questionnaire asked that its candidates not visit Israel and to support the B.D.S. movement. He pondered whether some progressives had somehow turned on the Jewish State for having the chutzpah to progress from being victims to being empowered. “Isn’t that our goal?” he asked aloud rhetorically.
The pro-Israel crowd wanted to better understand how this young politician became a self-described “unicorn” as staunchly pro-Israel in an increasingly hostile anti-Israel progressive world. He pointed to his trip to the Jewish State.
He emotionally recalled his trip to both Masada and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. In those two stops he understood both the long history of Jews in the land of Israel and the painful destruction of Jewish communities in Israel and around the world. He connected how people in his district fear gunfire while Israelis fear rocket fire. He internalized how the United States has only two neighbors with which it coexists peacefully, while small Israel has multiple the number of neighbors which are hostile to the country’s basic existence.
Torres concluded that it is important for people to mobilize: to push for changes in education and social media; to build an infrastructure to help get pragmatic pro-Israel politicians elected; and to make sure to vote and get the constructive voices for peace elected.
The attendees were thrilled to take pictures with this “unicorn,” while simultaneously bemoaning that indeed he is unfortunately one-of-a-kind. At least, for the moment.
In the wake of the Palestinian terrorist political party HAMAS firing 4,000 rockets into Israeli towns and the subsequent spike in anti-Semitism in the United States, freshman Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) came to the home of a Westchester rabbi to talk to his constituents.
One would imagine that Israel and anti-Semitism would have been at the top of the agenda considering recent events. But that is fanciful thinking and detached from the reality of much of the non-Orthodox liberal Jewish community today.
The rabbi’s husband welcomed the crowd of roughly 40 people to his home. He began with the importance of combatting climate change as he introduced the congressman. Jones then spoke about his “lived experiences” and need to have an economy that worked for everybody and that combatted police violence. He discussed initiatives which he was advancing such as the America Rescue Plan and the child tax credit. He emphasized that government can be “transformative if the right people are in power.”
He then took questions.
The Jewish crowd began with a question about funding libraries. It then moved to immigration and how people can get more Democrats elected. Jones touched upon how things really move in Washington and the problem of the filibuster. Voter suppression, the infrastructure plan which included “human infrastructure” like childcare was discussed passionately. Jones suggested targeting Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (one of the most pro-Israel senators) and others on the next election cycle.
Far advanced into the meeting someone asked a question about foreign policy. They wanted to know about Afghanistan. Well, not really Afghanistan and terrorism. The question was will the U.S. provide immigration for Afghanis who provided assistance to the American war effort all these years.
With five minutes left in the hour meeting, someone brought up Israel.
Jones said he supported Israel’s right to defend itself and would oppose any conditioning of aid to Israel. Moreover, we would support funding the restocking Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system which is important for its security.
He then launched into a series of worries, such as his discomfort with Israel’s leadership. He was concerned about discussions about annexing parts of the West Bank. He was upset about Arabs being forcibly evicted from their homes and the dignity of Palestinians. He concluded by saying that Israel has to stop treating Palestinians as though they are not human beings.
No one said a word or batted an eyelash at his contention that Israelis don’t think of Arabs as human. Instead, they moved on to the final question and then asked for money to support Jones’ reelection campaign.
The host concluded the talk with noting that the attendees (White Jews) were very happy with the replacement of Rep. Nita Lowey in their district and Rep. Eliot Engel just south of them – two White Jews replaced with Black non-Jews – as the ceding of power to another minority group was in order and appropriate for the times. In any event, all liberal priorities seemed to remain in place. [Note to reader: Rep. Jamaal Bowman who replaced Engel could not be more to the opposite extreme of Engel’s strong pro-Israel positions].
So a progressive Black gay freshman congressman came to address liberal Jews immediately after a mini-war from Gaza and a terrible spike in anti-Semitism in the U.S., and the crowd focused on a host of liberal issues over and above Jew-hatred and Israel.
If a congressman sees that Jews in his district do not prioritize anti-Semitism or the Jewish State, why should he?
Perhaps it is time to reintroduce some basic principles to parts of the liberal Jewish community such as from Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14: “Hillel says, ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?‘”
Jews have been the most persecuted minority around the world for centuries. Even in the United States, home to the second largest group of Jews (after Israel), an average Jew today is roughly three times more likely to suffer a hate crime than an average Black or LGBT+ person.
Yet Jews go on and live their lives in the U.S. They walk the streets and run businesses knowing that this incredible country is different than others where ancestors lived until pogroms, edicts and wars forced them to leave. The United States not only has the benefit of not having centuries of systemic Jew-hatred built into its history like many Christian and Muslim countries but was built on the notion of equality and liberty. Jews believe that there is finally a government that will protect them.
With such knowledge, Jews outwardly wear their Judaism, literally. Religious Jewish men wear kippahs / yamulkes (head coverings) on their heads throughout the day. They can be seen wearing their tallisim as they walk the streets on the Sabbath. They place mezuzahs on the doorposts of their homes and businesses and don’t even think about plastering the word “kosher” on their restaurants.
Perhaps, until now.
Amid the current spike in attacks on Jews from virtually every part of society – Blacks, Whites, Muslims and the alt-left – the Biden Administrations’ Jewish engagement director, Aaron Keyak, tweeted on May 21:
“It pains me to say this, but if you fear for your life or physical safety take off your kippah and hide your magen david (Star of David).“
This was not a yeshiva principal suggesting how Jewish boys could lessen the chance of being attacked. This was the president of the United States’ Jewish outreach person telling Jews that the environment in the United States today dictates that they should hide. President Biden’s liaison to the Jewish community delivered a message that the U.S. government cannot assure their safety.
Such a statement on its own is horrifying. When it is delivered the same week as Biden extolling Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) after her smear campaign that the Jewish State was intentionally murdering Arabs in a racist bloodlust (rather than defending itself from a genocidal HAMAS terrorist group), it’s terrifying.
Jews understand the combined message: the Democratic party is being increasingly taken over by shrill voices which seek to halt the protections that the United States once provided its Jewish citizens and Jewish allies. And the leadership is listening.
Jews in the United States in modern times have been blessed with safety and security and have prospered despite the anti-Semitism prevalent in society. If the government’s new policy is for Jews to check their religious privilege as the alt-left advances its distinctly anti-religion and anti-Zionist campaign, Jews will be forced to trade their prayer books for the Diary of Anne Frank as they canvas which neighbor will hide them from the mob.
After several weeks of smearing the Jewish State in its latest defensive battle with the terrorists of HAMAS, The New York Times chose to address anti-Semitism in the United States. However, being alt-left, the former newspaper portrayed all of the assailants in a variety of alt-right / Republican / White supremacy clothing. Not a Black, Brown or leftist anti-Semite could be found.
The May 27, 2021 New York Times article was called “Anti-Semitism Surges in Wake of Gaza Clash,” and began on the bottom of the front page and continued along with three black-and-white images on page A17. The pictures, like the article, chose to sanitize “Pro-Palestinian” Arab anti-Semitism as well as hatred from the Black community.
The article stated:
“Until the latest surge, anti-Semitic violence in recent years was largely considered a right-wing phenomenon, driven by a white supremacist movement emboldened by rhetoric from former President Donald J. Trump, who often trafficked in stereotypes.
“Many of the most recent incidents, by contrast, have come from perpetrators expressing support for the Palestinian cause and criticism of Israel’s right-wing government.”
The Times wrote that there are seemingly two types of anti-Semitism – racists from the right-wing and those opposed to the Israeli right-wing. The two rights are both (presumably) wrong, and the “left” was noticeably absent from any accusation.
When the article wrote about two men recently apprehended in connection with attacks on Jewish persons and locations, it only mentioned their names, Waseem Awawdeh and Ali Alaheri. It did not mention their ethnicity (presumably Arab and Muslim) which the paper does frequently in articles with White attackers.
The article also noted the Charlottesville “Unite the Right rally in 2017” where people shouted “Jews will not replace us!” That event was attended by over 100 people. The paper failed to similarly write about the Black Muslim Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan’s address to thousands of people in 2018 where he said he’s not an anti-Semite, “I’m an anti-Termite.” Farrakhan posted a video of the remarks to his million followers, but the Times ignored the episode.
The Times went on to list the shootings of Jews by White gunmen in Pittsburgh and San Diego, but did not list any attacks by Black people such as the killings in Jersey City by an organized team of Black Israelites or the machete attack by a Black man at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, NY. Nor would it describe the rocks and bricks thrown into synagogues in Riverdale, NY or at the faces of Jews in Brooklyn by Black people.
Because that would alter the narrative that the progressive left is pushing: hatred and racism are solely the domain of White Republicans.
To underscore the progressive argument, the Times went on to write “Jews and others were particularly stung by comments by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has spent the past week repeatedly comparing mask and vaccine mandates to the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany, and by the Republicanleadership’s slow response to her remarks.” The article would not discuss the repeated disgusting anti-Semitic remarks of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and the Democratic leadership’s vigorous defense of her. No mention of Rashida Tlaib‘s (D-MI) only showing concern for anti-Semitism when she thought a White person committed the crime. No review of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) comparing the holding cells at the Mexican border to a concentration camp.
The omissions of Black, Brown and progressive anti-Semites were not oversights but a deliberate reorientation by progressive America after the murder of George Floyd to protect people of color.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) wrote about the Intelligence Project (IP) in October 2020 which called for demoting the racism and anti-Semitism by Black people because it would lead to over-policing. The report argued that Black anger is warranted while White anger is not:
“SPLC, and IP more specifically, recognizes the common language shared by our Black Separatist listing and federal attempts to criminalize Black activism. We reject federal law enforcement’s false and misleading contention regarding threats from Black separatists. We believe this contention is used to justify the over-policing and surveillance of communities of color. Contributing to a false dichotomy does not serve SPLC’s mission of racial equity…. The Black Separatist listing created a color line bias, separating hate and extremism by race and granting the appearance of a false equivalency of equal hate on both sides. But the hate is not equal. Black separatism was born out of valid anger against very real historical and systemic oppression…. Black separatism is a response to white supremacy and white nationalism…. We aim to expose these groups without helping the FBI in its definition of Black identity extremists.”
For the SPLC, Black Israelites may have killed Jews in Jersey City because of anti-Semitism, but at the core, their anger was justified because non-Blacks were moving into their communities. Progressives may note that Farrakhan peddles in anti-Semitism, but they consider it low-grade and based on righteous anger.
For progressives, racism can only be viewed through the lens of power, and they have concluded that Jews have all the power relative to People of Color and Palestinian Arabs, failing to note the deep anti-Semitism in that opinion.
The New York Times has been writing since the Obama years that anti-Semitism exists because the alt-right is racist and Israel is racist because it hated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The “Defund Police” and BlackLivesMatter movements are giving the progressive media additional leeway to absolve the anti-Semitism of Black and Brown people.
There is a message for Jews to internalize in observing how the left-wing media insists that the only real anti-Semites are right-wing White Republicans as it shields the anti-Jewish hate from people of color: Jews are simply tools in their political machinations to reorient America. Anti-Semitism is not a real concern for progressives but an issue to be used selectively to advance a massive redistribution of power and wealth.
Away from Twitterland and the evening news, where some politicians like Ritchie Torres (D-NY) have been vociferously pro-Israel, some politicians have quietly been nice enough to reply to my emails and share their thoughts about the latest fight between Israel and HAMAS. To not be accused of bias or taking people out of context, I have included their full remarks below.
But to summarize:
Both New York State Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gilligrand did not respond to numerous emails. Neither did Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) who took over Eliot Engel’s seat. Quite a disgrace.
Two Republican congressmen – Mark Green (TN) and August Pfluger (TX) – were not only nice enough to respond (I am from NY) but wrote some wonderful pro-Israel statements.
Progressive Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY) broke with many alt-left wing colleagues and supported Israel.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was pathetic. He equivocated about Israel’s defense before a terrorist organization.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) offered nothing but a canned short statement.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) just offered her letter which she penned with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) but it was thoughtfully pro-Israel.
Congressman Mark Green (R-TN)
Thank you for contacting me about U.S. support for the State of Israel. It is an honor to represent the people of Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn your thoughts on this issue.
From my three deployments to the Middle East with the U.S. Army, I know that Israel is a stabilizing force and our most reliable ally in the region. Israel is one of the only nations in the region genuinely committed to a democratic system of government and the protection of individual freedom. Our two nations have shared an enduring bond since the United States was the first to recognize the State of Israel in 1948, and we find common cause today in our fight against terrorist groups and the aggression of the Iranian regime that supports such movements.
I was proud to stand with President Trump in defense of our ally Israel, especially with regard to his Administration’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I also strongly oppose the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to shame and isolate America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to reaffirm American support for Israel as it seeks to defend its security and sovereignty.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Your comments and opinions are a vital source of information to assist me in carrying out my duties as your representative in Congress. Please visit my website at markgreen.house.gov, where you can sign up for my newsletter updates and learn more about my work in Congress on your behalf.
Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX)
It was a tragic week for the Jewish community around the world. Though a ceasefire was declared between Israel and Palestine, the resulting civilian casualties and the destruction of sacred land is heartbreaking. It has never been more important to stand in solidarity with Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East and the only democracy in the region. Israel is a beacon of freedom in the Arab world – we must defend our important ally. I am horrified to see Anti-Semitic violence breaking out in our country in the wake of the conflict, as Jewish Americans are being assaulted, terrorized, and threatened in cities across the U.S. These attacks are reprehensible and evil. Targeting a religious group is antithetical to who we are and what we stand for as a free nation. I am calling on all of my colleagues in Congress to stand up and condemn anti-Semitism and all forms prejudice.
Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
Like you, I am heartbroken by the toll inflicted on innocent civilians by this ongoing conflict. I am deeply committed to the strong relationship between Israel and the United States, and believe we must pursue a permanent, diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis that addresses the underlying, decades-long conflict. I urge both parties to take steps that move both sides closer to a permanent two-state solution that preserves the self-determination and dignity of both peoples.
I have strongly condemned the rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israeli cities, and my heart goes out to those under fire. Such attacks only deepen the ongoing suffering of both Israeli citizens and Palestinians living in Gaza. Thankfully, on May 20, Israel announced a mutual ceasefire after 11 days of the worst violence the region had seen in years.
I am committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution of this longstanding conflict, and I believe the United States will play a critical role in achieving this goal. I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee expressing support for the full funding of $3.8 billion in security assistance to Israel as authorized in the 2016 US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding. Reducing or conditioning assistance to Israel, which President Biden has dismissed, would adversely impact U.S. security priorities in the Middle East and undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself from threats in the region. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a vital ally for the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues to maintain our strong, special relationship with the state of Israel.
Thank you again for sharing your perspective with me. If you or your family need assistance with federal agencies or in response to COVID-19, please call my office at (914) 323-5550 or visit jones.house.gov to learn more about the resources and services available to you. To follow my work in Washington, I urge you to sign-up for my e-newsletter, and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Senator Dick Durbin(D-IL)
Thank you for contacting me about the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. I appreciate hearing from you and share your concern over the recent level of violence.
On May 21, Israel and Hamas entered into a cease fire agreement after more than ten days of the highest level of violence in years. The violence between the Israeli and Palestinian people is the culmination of decades of neglect and lack of political will to find a lasting peace that provides an independent state for the Palestinians and lasting security for the Israelis.
For too long, efforts to win short-term political gains have come at the expense of a desperately needed solution. I fear further neglect of this issue, combined with a failure to address militarized Hamas and continued Israeli settlement expansion, will doom any chance for an enduring two-state solution.
Earlier this year, I wrote to Secretary Anthony Blinken in support of renewed US involvement in the peace process. I know he and President Biden understand the importance of finally addressing these critical needs for our Israeli and Palestinian friends whose children deserve to grow up in peace.
I will continue to monitor any developments on this issue and keep your thoughts in mind should Congress address this matter.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Thursday released the following statement on the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas:
“I’m relieved by reports that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire, and I commend President Biden and Secretary Blinken for the role they played in bringing a halt to the violence. However, I am deeply concerned that without meaningful progress towards a two-state future, the conditions of despair will deepen, further fuel extremism and lead to a tragic renewal of the cycle of violence,” said Murphy.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)
President Joe Biden has made his intentions to return to the failed foreign policies of the past very clear. This includes the Biden administration’s intent for the United States to “re-engage immediately and robustly” with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without receiving any commitments for much needed institutional reforms. The U.N. General Assembly created the UNHRC in 2006 to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights globally and address the most pressing human rights crises. Since then, the very essence of the UNHRC has been corrupt, with some of the world’s worst human rights violators as sitting members, including China, Russia, Venezuela and Cuba. Both of our families know firsthand the human cost associated with repressive regimes. Our families had their beloved homeland taken over by brutal communists, and their experiences shaped our lives and gave us a special appreciation for the freedoms and values we have as Americans. It also gave us the understanding that America has to stand in support of human rights across the globe. More than 60 years later, the basic rights of the Cuban people remain nonexistent. Shamefully, Cuba is a current member of the UNHCR, where they are given a platform to speak on human rights. This is an absolute slap in the face to the Cuban people. Similarly disturbing is Venezuela’s current membership on the council. Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro made an address at the opening of the council’s 46th regular session this year. This is an insult to the millions of Venezuelans who are suffering, including the approximately five million refugees and migrants who have been forced to flee due to the humanitarian catastrophe brought on by Maduro’s corrupt narco-regime. In a matter of years, Maduro transformed Venezuela from one of the wealthiest countries in South America into an economic catastrophe, where Venezuelans cannot access basic essentials. The illegitimate regime has killed and tortured dissidents, independent reporters, university students and civilians. This is the same regime that was found to have committed crimes against humanity by the U.N. Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela. Current members on the council also include Russia, where Vladimir Putin and his cronies target dissidents, invade neighboring countries, and are working to stamp out independent media from the country. And the most egregious of all might be a sitting member that is actively committing genocide. One of UNHRC’s longest-serving members, China, under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is currently waging a brutal campaign of crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghur Muslims. Their crimes include forced abortions and sterilization, forced labor, and detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslims in camps. The Council has also made no effort to mask its contempt for the Jewish state of Israel. The obsession and hostility toward Israel has led to a permanent agenda item – number 7 – focused on condemning Israel. No other country is subject to such perpetual harassment. Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East that respects human rights and the rule of law. Yet, over half of UNHCR resolutions target Israel. The Human Rights Council is a broken institution. Any country that egregiously violates the basic rights of its citizens should not have a role on an international body tasked with ending human rights abuses. It is a mockery to human rights everywhere and the United States should not participate unless real reforms are met. America’s presence on the council, alongside these nations, only legitimizes the hypocritical abuses that have plagued this body for years. For the sake of those suffering under repressive regimes, President Biden must make the right choice and stand for human rights. The Biden administration should not follow in the footsteps of the Obama administration and so-called experts who prioritized meaningless “engagement” over impact. Biden proudly proclaimed “America is back,” but America should not go “back” to international organizations that undermine our interests and human rights globally. The bottom line is this: returning to the UNHRC would require a dramatic overhaul of this corrupt body to implement its founding mission. Oppressed peoples around the world are watching in the hopes that America will stand with them and against their oppressors. Do what is right, Mr. President.
People consider what actions they can take when they are upset by the situations around them. When looking at the violence in Israel, a place to direct attention is the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The committee is responsible for legislation regarding foreign affairs, national security and arms control. The committee has a direct impact on U.S. policy.
The committee members include Democrats and Republicans, both pro- and anti-Israel voices. They include:
Some of the committee members have spoken recently about Israel:
Chairman Gregory Meeks (general concern): “I am deeply concerned by recent violence in Jerusalem perpetrated by both Israeli and Palestinian mobs. To stoke the flames further, Hamas fired dozens of deadly rockets and mortars into Israel. All these acts of violence should be condemned by responsible leaders, Israeli and Palestinian. The Israeli National Police, who are responsible for ensuring safety and order in the city, must use precision and wisdom to focus on those engaging in violence and criminality, whomever they may be, and ensure the rights and freedoms of all residents of the city, particularly during holy periods. The situation in Sheikh Jarrah is deeply concerning. The United States believes Jerusalem must be a city in which coexistence, not violence, reigns, and it is up to the residents, leaders, and officials, to ensure that it is.”
Ilhan Omar (anti-Israel): “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid”
Joaquin Castro (anti-Israel): “The forced displacement of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem is illegal and unacceptable. The Biden administration must stand up for the rights of the Palestinian families in #SheikhJarrah and urge the Israeli government to stop these evictions.“
Lee Zeldin (pro-Israel): “An attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Our nation should stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest ally in the world as it is indiscriminately targeted by Hamas terrorists launching rockets at innocent civilians.“
Ted Deutch (pro-Israel): “Congress is committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge and its ability to defend itself, by itself, against persistent threats. Our aid to Israel is a vital and cost-effective expenditure which advances important U.S. national security interests in a highly challenging region. For decades, Presidents of both parties have understood the strategic importance of providing Israel with security assistance.“
Click on the links above which go directly to each committee member’s contact page and share your thoughts about what is going on in Israel today.
On April 27, 2021, The New York Times offered its readers an opinion piece by former President Obama’s Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan. His ridiculous piece was called “Why Biden Must Watch This Palestinian Movie.“
There are too many lies and omissions to do a line-by-line review but some major themes emerge which highlight Brennan’s willful blindness of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Major Lie #1: Israel No Longer Has Security Concerns
Brennan noted that in his visit from Jordan to Israel in 1975, Palestinian Arabs had to go through aggressive security screening which he understood as “I knew that Israel had legitimate security concerns in the aftermath of the 1967 and 1973 wars, worries that had been heightened by attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets by Palestinian terrorist organizations.” Those “worries” included wars to annihilate the Jewish State in 1967 and 1973, and the Arab world’s “Three No’s” regarding making peace, recognizing and negotiating with Israel. The Palestinian attacks were not limited to Israel but countries which supported the Jewish State, and included the assassination of U.S. Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy as well as tens of airplane hijackings.
Brennan commented that today’s world is a far cry from his 1975 experience, as Israel struck peace agreements with many Arab nations and made “significant progress in reducing violence carried out by Palestinians inside and outside the occupied territories,” with the exception of Hamas.
First, well over twenty Arab and Muslim countries still refuse to recognize Israel. Those Arab countries which have recently welcomed relations with the Jewish State were loudly condemned by Palestinians.
Second, the reason that there has been such a reduction in violence is because of the security barrier that Israel erected in reaction to the so-called “Second Intifada.” It is that very security barrier that Brennan criticized in the article, with a completely fabricated reason for that barrier’s existence:
“Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has spearheaded relentless expansion of settlements in the West Bank. That expansion has brought along more concrete walls, security barriers and control points, further reducing the spaces where Palestinians can live, graze their flocks, tend their olive groves and vegetable gardens without being challenged by their occupiers.”
As President Biden is fond of saying, that’s complete “malarkey.” Palestinian Arab terrorism brought the security barrier, not Jewish family homes.
The Second Intifada – not waged from Gaza but from the “West Bank” – was omitted from Brennan’s narrative. The “stabbing intifada” and the “car ramming intifada” from the West Bank in 2015 and 2016 were similarly ignored.
Further, the Muslim and Arab actors encircling and threatening Israel are irrelevant in Brennan’s opinion. The Islamic Republic of Iran has stated its desire to destroy Israel, yet Brennan’s boss gave the country over $100 billion and a legal pathway to nuclear weapons. Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon (which fought a war with Israel in 2006), Syria and Hamas in Gaza, each at Israel’s borders.
So much for Palestinian Arabs and the Muslim world being peaceful and welcoming Israelis.
Major Lie #2: Palestinians Have Made No Progress Towards Autonomy
Brennan added that “Despite sharply reduced tensions between Israel and the Arab world, the Palestinian people themselves have seen no appreciable progress in their quest to live in their own sovereign state.” Really? Since 1975 there has been no progress?
Israel handed many cities and towns – including the holy city of Bethlehem which was designated to be an international city in the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan – to the Palestinians in the 1990’s. This was the first time that local Arabs every had sovereignty in the region.
Israel abandoned Gaza in 2005. It was rewarded with wars from the region in 2008, 2012 and 2014. Missiles and arson balloons continue to bombard Israeli civilian centers from the strip.
The Palestinian Authority was created in the 1990’s as part of several agreements with Israel. The PA last held presidential elections and legislative elections in 2005 and 2006, respectively. At that time, the Palestinians elected a Holocaust denier as the president and the terrorist group Hamas which is sworn to the destruction of Israel to 58% of the parliament. The front-runner in the proposed 2021 presidential elections is a terrorist in an Israeli jail convicted of killing five and injuring many.
Palestinians have made significant advances towards independence. It has not reduced their quest for Israeli blood.
Inverted Cause-and-Effect; Upside Down Conclusions
Brennan’s fictitious narrative of the security barrier is emblematic of his distorted vision of the steps towards an enduring peace. Ignoring the fact that the security barrier was needed and built to stop West Bank Palestinians from slaughtering Israelis, and retelling it as something Israel elected to erect to protect Israeli “settlements”, turned Israelis into the aggressors rather than the victims.
Brennan wrote that Palestinian children “grow up traumatized by injustice, discrimination and violence. They live with the feeling that their existence is controlled by people who don’t care about their welfare, their safety or their future.” This is upside down. Brennan argued that the “people who don’t care” and make their lives miserable are Israelis instead of the Palestinian leadership which uses its resources for weaponry to attack Israel and for “martyr payments” to terrorists.
So Brennan celebrated Biden restarting the money spigot even though the Palestinians have not changed their violent activities.
The Times featured Obama’s CIA chief’s distorted view of history and of the present in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Ignoring reality six years ago, the Obama administration enriched and empowered a state sponsor of terrorism. Brennan now hopes that the new Biden administration will similarly be oblivious to Palestinian lies and loathing, and enrich and create a new state sponsor of terrorism.