VOICES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
“When blatant antisemitic conspiracy theories were spread against George Soros, President Trump retweeted them. When antisemites carried tiki torches in Charlottesville, Donald Trump called them “very fine people.” Under Trump, well-known antisemites and white supremacists have unprecedented access to positions of power.
Yet when Congresswoman Ilhan Omar criticized AIPAC [American Israeli Public Affairs Committee] for behaving like any other powerful lobby, Trump has the audacity to feign concern over antisemitism?
We don’t buy it. Ilhan Omar supports our Constitutional right to boycott, and she criticizes Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. The sustained attacks on her are in large part fueled by racism and Islamophobia. Even though she’s apologized for the impact of her statements, Ilhan Omar continues to be attacked by a bad-faith smear campaign.
Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to defend Ilhan Omar. We reject attempts to silence her criticism of Israeli policy and her support for Palestinian rights and freedom, just as we reject anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms.” – – Jewish Voice for Peace stands with Ilhan.
“A few weeks ago, Representative Ilhan Omar became the target of a bad-faith smear campaign after she called attention to AIPAC’s influence on American politics.
In response, hundreds of people contributed to #IStandWithIlhan, Jewish Voice for Peace’s public campaign in support of her.
Together, we showed that Ilhan Omar – and everyone who criticizes Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights – will not be silenced.” – – Jewish Voice for Peace
“Today, the Jewish community is faced with a choice. Will we choose a Judaism that supports freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians, or will we let the leadership of the establishment define our tradition as incompatible with our values?
Will we continue down the path of isolation and fear that’s destroying the lives of millions of Palestinians and alienating a generation of young Jews? Or, will we create a vibrant Judaism that emerges from the trauma of our past to bring our tradition to life in the present?
We have chosen. We are building a Jewish community that recognizes we cannot be free absent the freedom of Palestinians. No longer will our community be used by American politicians and the American public to justify the violation of Palestinian rights. Like those born wandering in the desert, we are rising from our people’s trauma in order to move us toward the ongoing promise of liberation.” – – Jewish organization IF Not Now
“The rise of a political party in Israel that inherits the racist ideas of Kahane would have seemed impossible just a few decades ago when Kahane was excluded from the Knesset because of his racism. But in today’s Israeli politics, there is a reasonable chance that some of these Kahanists may end up as ministers in the next government. Purim, with its description of Jewish violence, has been appropriated by right-wing extremists to provide a religious cover for their hateful attitude toward Palestinians. Please read the article below and encourage others to join you in questioning whether and in what ways Jews should transform this holiday (Purim begins on the eve of Wednesday, March 20) into one that acknowledges the slippery slope from ultra-nationalism to racism and hatred.” – – Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Jewish Magazine Tikkun
“While valid criticism of Netanyahu, AIPAC, and Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians are being falsely attacked as antisemitism, threats by white supremacists are continuing. And we all know who white supremacists have their sights set on: Black people, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and more. We’re happy to see a resolution that condemns real bigotry, rather than going after Rep. Ilhan Omar and her vision of a world free of racism and oppression.” – – Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director, Jewish Voice for Peace
“I hope this is a wake-up call for Speaker Pelosi and others: We aren’t going to sit idle while leaders who speak up for Palestinian rights are attacked in such a hostile way.” – – Michael Deheeger, Congressional Organizer, Jewish Voice for Peace
“I’m a proud Jew raised in a liberal family that supported civil rights and human rights. My experience growing up during the 1950s and 1960s was typical of many Jewish Americans. Like many Jews with this background, I’ve grown increasingly ashamed of Israel.
For 40 years, Israel has been ruled mostly by a series of right-wing governments – more and more openly racist and abusive of Palestinian rights. It’s not the land of tree-planting, kibbutzim and “a country treating its Arab minority nicely” that we were sold as youngsters.
That’s why a large number of proud Jewish Americans—raised to believe in civil liberties and open discussion—are appalled by the campaign to muzzle Rep. Ilhan Omar, as well as Speaker Pelosi’s role in it. We’re also appalled that human-rights-abusing Israel is virtually off-limits to debate.
Most Jews—the likes of Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner excepted—empathize with the refugee experience. Only a rare few cannot be impressed by the life story of Omar, who fled civil-war-torn Somalia and came to the U.S. as a refugee at age 12, knowing only two English phrases: “hello” and “shut up.” Now a Muslim Congresswoman, she’s recently faced hateful bias and threats.
Rep. Omar has made a simple and undeniable point – that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the funding it influences exert extraordinary power over Congress. Disputing that point is flat-earther terrain. The Capitol Hill farce of an “anti-hate” resolution would provide still more evidence on behalf of her argument.
Unfortunately, all the vague media references to Rep Omar’s “anti-Semitic remarks” obscure how truthful and non-hateful those comments were. You can see a series of her recent tweets here.
Progressive Jews are rushing to her defense because of tweets like this one that speak for us in a way few members of Congress ever have: “Being opposed to Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic. I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.” – – Jeff Cohen – Common Dreams