Of course it’s obnoxious and offensive: Newly elected Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has accused the American Israel Affairs Committee of paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.
At a time when anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise, I feel outrage that a government leader would invoke a hurtful stereotype of Jewish people using money to gain support for Israel.
AIPAC responded that “we are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”
Yes, much of the world is growing impatient with Israel and its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. But as has been rightfully observed: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity.” That is to say that the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly rejected Israel’s offers that would result in two states for two peoples. Furthermore, these leaders have been supportive of violence against Israel as was evidenced the other day when a nineteen-year-old girl was walking in a park in Jerusalem when she was brutally attacked and murdered by a Palestinian man.
Anti-Semitism is the oldest form of bigotry that our world knows, and we dare not tolerate any politician who would perpetuate such a condemning and false image of Jews. I can only hope that the great majority of American people reject such accusations against us, and that people are enlightened enough to realize that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that ascribes to those values that have made America great and the envy of much of the world.
Our Jewish love of money, and using it for our own self-interest: It’s an old, ugly image that dare not be perpetuated by any American politician. Rep. Ilhan Omar is to be condemned in the strongest way possible, and taught about the potential impact of all forms of bigoted provocation against any group of people.
Rabbi David Greenberg