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Ocasio-Cortez and other new Dems ‘need to be educated’ on Israel, says Rep. Eliot Engel

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Eliot Engel, the Democratic congressman whose New York district neighbors that of rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said last night that Ocasio-Cortez and three other progressive Democrats “need to be educated” to support Israel.

“We are going to continue to work in Congress to make sure that we have overwhelming support for Israel on both sides of the aisle,” Engel told a White Plains, NY, synagogue audience gathered by the Israel lobby group AIPAC. “I know there was an interesting story in the New York Times today. I am certainly cognizant of the fact that people who are coming in as far as I’m concerned on the Democratic side, will be educated and need to be educated. But we have overwhelming support for Israel in the Congress. And… it will continue that way. We will maintain it that way.”

The New York Times article said that a new wave of progressive Democrats who are likely to enter Congress in 2019 “has dared to breach what has been an almost inviolable orthodoxy in both political parties, strong support for Israel.” The piece named four women nominees: Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, Leslie Cockburn in suburban Virginia, Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis, and of course Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Queens and the Bronx (the 14th Congressional district just south of Engel’s 16th). All but Cockburn face weak or no opposition in the general election.

Rep. Eliot Engel speaks at Temple Israel Center in Westchester, at an AIPAC event on Oct. 8, 2018.

Ocasio-Cortez said, “This is a massacre,” when Israel slaughtered nonviolent protesters in Gaza last May. Tlaib has called for one state and an end to aid to Israel. Ilhan Omar has labeled Israel an “apartheid” state and said it has “hypnotized the world.”  Cockburn co-authored a book titled, “Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship.” Good luck on education. Maybe Engel should go right to mansplaining!

Engel bragged that the House Foreign Affairs committee, of which he is the ranking member, is the “most bipartisan committee in Congress.” Republicans and Democrats may disagree about a lot of other things, but he and Ed Royce, the Republican chairman, are dedicated to make sure the “United States and Israel stand as one.”

Engel assured an audience of over 400 that he sits down with AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which sponsored last night’s forum, to discuss every piece of legislation that comes out of the Foreign Affairs committee, and that he has attended 31 consecutive AIPAC policy conferences since entering the Congress in 1989. That guidance from AIPAC “is needed,” he said. Because “there are people in Congress who don’t understand what it’s all about.”

Nita Lowey, the congresswoman from the Westchester, NY, district in which the synagogue is located, also spoke. She said she is the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, and she celebrated the new $38 billion dollar ten year memorandum of understanding between the US and Israel that was signed in 2016 by President Obama but that began a few days ago.

Lowey despaired of the two-state solution. “We must also acknowledge the difficult times we are facing. I am a lifelong supporter of the two-state solution, as I believe it is the only way we will one day see two states for two peoples. But I fear that we are now farther away from an end to the conflict than we’ve been in a long time.”

She said she was “eager” to see the Trump peace plan, but she lamented the Trump administration’s decision to cut off aid to UNRWA, which serves Palestinians. “We can all agree that Hamas is responsible for the sufferings of innocent civilians in Gaza,” she said. “Nevertheless I do worry that cutting off aid could not only hurt the civilian population, who depends on humanitarian assistance, but also the safety of Israel should stability in the region deteriorate.”

Engel appeared to differ with Lowey. He said that he too had been on the White House lawn for the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993, but that the Palestinians were responsible for the failure of the peace process, and for trying to push the Jews into the sea. Engel said the pattern went back to the 1947 rejection of partition by Arabs at the U.N. “The Jews said yes– once again, the first time– and the Arabs said, no. The Arabs tried to push the Jews into the sea. It didn’t work. Each time that is what happened. It was the Israelis who said yes and the Palestinians who said no.”

Engel concluded his remarks: “Am Yisrael Chai,” Hebrew for, the people of Israel live!

P.S. On two screens on the altar at Temple Israel Center last night, AIPAC stated that last night’s event was off the record and closed to the press. I registered for the event, which the synagogue billed as “a community wide event,” without receiving any such warning, then drove an hour each way to attend. And by the way, AIPAC also closes its annual conference, where hundreds of politicians parade, to me and many other members of the press.

AIPAC event featuring Congresspeople Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, was closed to the press and off the record per message on screens. Oct. 8, 2018, Temple Israel, White Plains, NY. Event also featured Ronen Bergman, New York Times Magazine journalist.

P.P.S. Of all the names mentioned in this post, including Lowey and Engel and Ocasio-Cortez, only one is endorsed by J Street, the liberal Zionist organization: Leslie Cockburn, running in Virginia.

Philip Weiss

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22 Responses

  1. scott9854958 on October 9, 2018, 1:54 pm

    I didn’t know Leslie Cockburn was running for Congress. I read her book shortly after it came out and learned a lot. She probably knows more about U.S.-Israeli dirty laundry than all members of Congress combined. I doubt the patronizing Eliot Engel would agree to debate her. People like him do much better in echo chambers like that synagogue.

    • US Citizen on October 9, 2018, 8:53 pm

      Of course there is another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets.

      Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government. That country is, of course, Israel.

    • Misterioso on October 10, 2018, 10:18 am

      @scott9854958, et al

      Although we can be certain he will continue to avoid the hideous truth, it is Eliot Engel who very much needs to be “educated on Israel.”

      Here are a few slices of reality he should be aware of:

      Must read:

      “Breaking the Silence about Israel’s occupation of Hebron,” The National, by Jonathan Cook, Oct. 8/18
      “Former Israeli soldiers exposing the brutality of the occupation of the West Bank face fresh challenges.”

      Short video: “Israeli settlers [i.e., squatters] steal Palestinian olive crops.”
      “Palestinian farmers are only given four days to tend to hundreds of trees and harvest their crops, while settlers are free to access the land at their will

      “A group of settlers have been filmed stealing olives from Palestinian farms near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

      “In the video, the pair can be seen working together to cut and bag the olives from the groves which lie in an area which leaves them inaccessible to their Palestinian owners without Israeli permission.

      “According to Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din incidents like these are repeated every year. Last year thousands of kilograms of olive crops were stolen by settlers in the Nablus area, the group said.

      “The farms are located in “Area C” of the West Bank which, under the terms of the 1993 Oslo Accords, means they fall completely under Israeli military and administrative control. Palestinians in this area often find their right to movement curtailed to make way for new illegal settlements, settlement roads and military training exercises. In some cases, Palestinians are forcibly removed to allow for settlement expansion as is the case with the residents of the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar which is currently under threat of demolition.

      “Speaking to MEMO, a Palestinian farmer, who asked not to be named, said occupation forces gave him only three to four days to harvest and care for his crop.

      “His farm is surrounded by illegal settlements leaving him unable to access it without direct coordination with occupation forces who must be present when he is harvesting his plants. Should he enter his land in the absence of Israeli occupation forces, the farmer is likely to be attacked by settlers who throw stones at him.

      “‘We go as a family as early as 6:00 in the morning and finish by Asr prayer [late afternoon]. Last year they gave us three days, one time the soldiers were late in the morning, one time they made us leave by noon. We did not manage to finish picking our olives, we tried to go after but they kicked us out. We later saw the settlers picking our olives, it’s so hard for me and my family to witness that and be helpless.’

      “Occupation forces have a list of the names of landowners and only allow their close family members to accompany them to access the land. This year, access to the land has only been granted on Saturdays for a period of four weeks. This, the farmer says, allows settlers to steal the crops. He says he has reported the thefts to the occupation’s police forces who said the days in which Palestinians are allowed access to their land are over and so they will not take action against the settlers.

      “’A farmer prefers to work hard and at once, it’s better for the trees, if they give me a day a week, that means they are giving the rest of the week to the settlers.’

      “‘It’s hard to keep track of the thefts, they must be thousands of kilogrammes of olives every year, they have access to our land all year round.’

      “Olives are a key source of income for approximately 100,000 Palestinian families who rely on the nearly 11 million olive trees in occupied Palestine for their livelihood. The olive oil industry alone makes up 20 per cent of the Palestinian economy.”
      Noam Chomsky on Finkelstein’s recent book, “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom”
      October 3, 2018.

      Recent video:
      “Israel Palestine International Law Symposium: Is Israel an Apartheid State?”
      Sept. 24/18
      Sheldon Adelson: “Best Government Money Can Buy” By Philip M.Giraldi
      “Very few Americans know who Sheldon Adelson is and fewer still appreciate that, as America’s leading political donor, when he speaks the Republican Party listens. By virtue of his largesse, he has been able to direct GOP policy in the Middle East in favor of Israel, which might well be regarded as his true home while the United States exists more as a faithful friend that can be produced at intervals whenever Israel finds itself in need of a bit of cash or political cover.”

  2. Tuyzentfloot on October 9, 2018, 1:57 pm

    They’re going to educate Leslie Cockburn ? That’s going to be ugly. That’s Thirteen’s mom right there. She’s from a good home.

  3. Maghlawatan on October 9, 2018, 3:20 pm

    “Engel appeared to differ with Lowey. He said that he too had been on the White House lawn for the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993, but that the Palestinians were responsible for the failure of the peace process, and for trying to push the Jews into the sea. Engel said the pattern went back to the 1947 rejection of partition by Arabs at the U.N. “The Jews said yes– once again, the first time– and the Arabs said, no. The Arabs tried to push the Jews into the sea. It didn’t work. Each time that is what happened. It was the Israelis who said yes and the Palestinians who said no.”“

    Israel needs a bit of the light into the nations. Engel is away with the fairies.

  4. Maghlawatan on October 9, 2018, 3:49 pm

    Israel can’t be bipartisan given the states of both the GOP and of Israel. Israel had a choice between settlers and being house trained and it chose settlers. Bring out the gimp.

  5. Kay24 on October 9, 2018, 4:07 pm

    Translation: Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats have to kowtow to Engel’s masters, and show them the unwavering support that he and many of colleagues, always gives their zionist masters.

    I hope they have the spine to face the pressure that they will now have to endure, from Israel firsters, the lobbies, and Israel’s American servants.

    I also hope that some of the new Democratic members of Congress, will have the courage to not vote favoring a brutal occupier, and vote to give it more weapons and aid in the future.

  6. Jasonius Maximus on October 9, 2018, 4:19 pm

    Eliot Engel, just another bought and paid for political stooge, doing the bidding of a foreign nation while violating and flaunting his oath of office.

    How dare he stand in front of Jewish Americans and lavish praise on a foreign nation, while that very same nation holds an American citizen (one of their own citizens) in custody for a week, for the crime of once boycotting hummus! Hummus for fuck sake!

    With all his access to AIPAC and his fellow Congressmen and women, what has the mighty Eliot Engel done about this gross violation? Nothing! Now he wants to “educate” the new generation of Democratic leaders? I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up.

    His time is just about over! A new generation of democratic social justice warriors, who know all about injustices against disenfranchised, oppressed minorities is taking the stage. Highly educated politicians who know more about Israel and it’s past than he did before getting hooked on and addicted to the Kool-Aid.

  7. pjdude on October 9, 2018, 4:44 pm

    um of course zionists said yes. most people love being given other peoples things for nothing. that they said yes is meaningless with out context which Mr. Engel is trying to do away with.

    • chocopie on October 10, 2018, 2:48 am

      Yeah, big surprise the people getting more than half of other people’s land said yes, and the people who were expected to give away more than half of their land said no.

  8. US Citizen on October 9, 2018, 4:57 pm

    No one ‘needs to be educated about israel’ and I hope they reject any such ‘education’. It’s time for progressive politicians to put Palestinian rights on the agenda, stop being bullied by AIPAC, and get with the program, or else they are going to lose the support of the constituents they need to get elected- if not today, then tomorrow.

    People understand dollars and cents. Make people endorsed/beholden to AIPAC and people like Engel and his ilk – the people who run on or promote a pro-israel position – defend giving 11 millions dollars a day to a ‘vibrant democracy’ when our own are going without. After being elected they should ban AIPAC from their congressional offices as well and if AIPAC attempts to smear them resort to going nuclear with the 11 million dollars a day and make THEM justify it.

    Spell it out for them and shame these israel firsters/AIPACers. It’s long overdue.

    When the US and international community start applying pressure on the israelis to actually accept living in peace next to Palestine let me know. Until then all of their numerous proxy organizations on the ground are just producing anti-Palestinian/Islamophobic propaganda and I will treat it accordingly as the trash and sewage that it is.

  9. Kay24 on October 9, 2018, 4:58 pm

    So it seems the Hasbara pests do other evil projects too.

    WASHINGTON — A top Trump campaign official requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals.

    The Trump campaign’s interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Donald J. Trump. Though the Israeli company’s pitches were narrower than Moscow’s interference campaign and appear unconnected, the documents show that a senior Trump aide saw the promise of a disruption effort to swing voters in Mr. Trump’s favor.” NYT

  10. Marnie on October 9, 2018, 7:08 pm

    A. Ocasio-Cortez and her compatriots need to spend more time with Betty McCollum and respectfully decline any meetings with Engel.

  11. [email protected] on October 9, 2018, 9:42 pm

    I agree with Engel. Cortez is “uneducated”, and Elliott, the one with education will teach her. Cortez will become educated as soon as she reaches congress and needs money for the poor in her district. Or perhaps better education for those in her district. Or health care. These things and the money to fund them will go elsewhere until she gets her diploma and supports everything that AIPAC and liberal zionists deem necessary for her education to be complete.

    • Donald on October 9, 2018, 10:38 pm

      The most interesting thing about this is that two Congressional representatives, one of them pretty high ranking ( maybe both, but I don’t know much about Lowey) can meet with a rather powerful special interest group and some portion of the public in a meeting which is supposed to be off the record to the press, where they then tell their supporters their plans on how to “ educate” other Congresspeople on the need to support Israel. Why is this acceptable? Do the rest of their constituents have any right to know this?

      The second most interesting thing is how both congresspeople essentially lie about both the history and who is responsible for human rights violations against Palestinians and again this is supposed to be off the record.

  12. captADKer on October 10, 2018, 9:25 am

    that tub of treachery jerry nadler appears
    to be unmentioned on engel’s list of these perpetual partisan anti semitic legislators to be.

  13. Vera Gottlieb on October 10, 2018, 11:50 am

    “Educated”??? More like ‘brainwashed’.

  14. Hastobe on October 10, 2018, 2:56 pm

    ‘Re-education’ sounds a little like Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia…but that is the direction Israel has set its course to…

    • Boomer on October 10, 2018, 7:06 pm

      I think that’s just the kind of “re-education” Engel has in mind. China is practiced at it, but so is AIPAC.

    • RoHa on October 10, 2018, 9:39 pm

      As far as I know, re-education is still practiced in China. Particularly for Falun Gong practitioners.

      For the rest of us, and especially those dreadful anti-Semitic Labour MPs, it’s called “diversity training”, “inclusivity training”, and “sensitivity training”.

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