Your Israel lobby at work. Brad Sherman is a liberal Democratic congressman from California and populist on Wall Street issues. He is also chairman of a House subcommittee on terrorism. With the applause (and likely the urging) of the Zionist Organization of America, he has sent out three letters to federal officials, urging investigations directed at Viva Palestina, the George Galloway group that is devoted to bringing aid to besieged people of Gaza— for allegedly supporting a terrorist organization, Hamas. The letters are to the IRS, to the Justice Department, and to Hillary Clinton.
In a fourth letter, written last week to the chancellor of the University of California at Irvine, Sherman accuses the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine of soliciting funds for a terrorist organization because it hosted Galloway last May. Once you have determined these facts in your internal investigation, Sherman says, you should bar the Muslim Student Union from the campus.
The ZOA, a rightwing pro-settlers group, says that it brought the Galloway event to Sherman’s attention earlier this fall and pressed for an investigation. Here, the Muslim Student Union at Irvine describes how it has been harassed by the ZOA:
The truth of the matter is that ZOA has been attempting to defame, censor and essentially eradicate the MSU for years now. This is only the most recent attempt to silence the MSU and restrict its constitutional right to freedom of speech, religion and association. Although this is not the first time the organization has made such claims against the MSU, the complaints continue to receive attention. This is surprising, considering all previous claims the organization made against MSU have been proven to be groundless. In 2004, ZOA claimed that the green stoles MSU members wear during graduation were a symbol of support for Hamas.
Consider the politics of this. Note that on its website, ZOA attacks J Street, and meantime has a leading Democratic politician feeding from its hand. The rightwing lobby is deeply enmeshed in our political culture and in Jewish life. And J Street is powerless to say a word about Gaza, even as it says it is devoted to taking on just what ZOA stands for: the settlements.