Pro-Israel writer and activist
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock is pro-Israel. If the test is whether a candidate criticizes certain Israeli government policies, then half of the Israeli electorate would fail. The test is what a candidate proposes to do about it. Warnock opposes BDS, rejects labeling Israel as an apartheid state, supports a two-state solution, and opposes conditioning or cutting aid to Israel. If that’s not pro-Israel, what is? Should we oppose him because he supports a two-state solution not only to protect Israel but to provide peace and dignity to Palestinians?
Alon Liel, who served as Israel’s consul general to the Southeast in Atlanta from 1990 to 1992 and later as ambassador to several countries and as director general of Israel’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, wrote last week he had been briefed “in great detail” by Israeli diplomats who served in Georgia more recently and has followed Warnock’s career closely. His conclusion: “I have no doubt that when it comes to Israel, Reverend Warnock’s support is rock solid.”
Last week the Jewish Democratic Council of America convened a Jewish community call with Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Warnock said “I am a staunch ally of Israel and echo Dr. King’s perspective that Israel’s right to exist is incontestable. I’ll always affirm the right for people to protest nonviolently. But at the same time, I condemn BDS in its refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.”
Warnock said he won’t condition military aid to Israel. “I support President Obama’s memorandum of understanding [of $38 billion in military aid over 10 years]. It’s the largest commitment made in history. Our aid and support of Israel is something that I would advance as a member of the Senate. And there’s no question: Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon. We cannot allow that to happen.” Watch for yourself and read Warnock’s position papers on Israel.
On Thursday, Warnock’s opponents manufactured another controversy, this time regarding a sermon from 2016 comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to George Wallace and warning that Israel risked becoming an apartheid state if it did not move toward a two-state solution. Over over 300 retired IDF generals, Mossad, Shin Bet, and police equivalents share Warnock’s position (although they do not endorse in American elections).
Pro-Bibi is not the same as pro-Israel. Warnock said in his sermon what the pro-Israel community has been saying for years: “If you don’t have a Palestinian state, you cannot have a Jewish democracy. That state will either be Jewish, or it will be a democracy. It cannot be both.”
Warnock warned that “If you do not have a Palestinian state, you will have to have apartheid in Israel that denies other citizens, sisters and brothers, citizenship.” He was speaking in the future tense about what could happen. Warnock has never called Israel an apartheid state, nor did the letter he signed call Israel an apartheid state.
Warnock’s warning should sound familiar. Prime Ministers Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, and Yitzhak Rabin (who compared settlements to cancer) have all used the same language, warning that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state if it does not achieve a two-state solution.
Warnock’s opponent, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), continues to falsely claim that Warnock defended anti-Semitic comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Politifact rated Loeffler’s claims “mostly false” and the Washington Post gave her “bogus claim” three pinocchios. For more about Wright, read Warnock and Israel: Setting the Record Straight.
If Loeffler is concerned about anti-Semitism, she should look in the mirror. Loeffler warmly accepted the endorsement of Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the anti-Semitic QAnon supporters elected to Congress last month, she recently defended a TV host tied to white supremacy and neo-Nazi conspiracy theories, and last week she posed for a photo with Chester Doles, a former KKK leader who runs the white supremacist American Patriots USA.
The inescapable conclusion, which should be welcomed by pro-Israel advocates on both sides of the aisle, is that by electing Rev. Raphael Warnock, Georgians will be electing a progressive with impeccable credentials who shares our values and firmly supports a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
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