Jews stand with Ilhan: There is nothing anti-semitic about calling out AIPAC’s noxious role

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The following petition, organized by friends, was signed by 229 people this morning (most of them Jewish; though the organizers welcome all signatories).  

We are Jews who stand with Representative Ilhan Omar. She has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism since tweeting that GOP threats against her and Representative Rashida Tlaib for criticizing Israel were “all about the Benjamins baby.” When asked to clarify who is paying members of Congress “to be pro-Israel,” Omar replied, “AIPAC!”

There is absolutely nothing anti-Semitic about calling out the noxious role of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), which spends millions each year to buy U.S. political support for Israeli aggression and militarism against the Palestinian people. As the NYC chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace summed up: “Accurately describing how the Israel lobby works in this country is not anti-Semitic. The never-ending smear campaign against Ilhan Omar is racism and Islamophobia in action.”

There is no denying that money rules U.S. politics, and that powerful lobbies from the NRA to the fossil fuel lobby to AIPAC play destructive, anti-democratic roles in our political system, wielding money for legislative influence. The pro-Israel lobby has played an outsized role in producing nearly unanimous congressional support for Israel. It has organized a national campaign to suppress Palestinian activism on campuses, made the Israel Anti-Boycott Act a legislative priority, and for decades has boasted about their power to make or break political careers. To point out this reality is not anti-Semitic.

Genuine anti-Semitism and the growth of white supremacy are indeed growing concerns in Donald Trump’s America. Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim congresswomen in this country’s history, are not part of this ugly growth of white supremacy. Instead, they are part of movements which seek to confront it. For that, and for their courageous support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, they are being smeared by a racist and Islamophobic chorus, including the House Democratic leadership itself.

As long as the Israeli state continues to militarily besiege, economically choke, and incessantly dispossess the Palestinian people, and as long as it does so with the full backing of the United States government, we need to speak out against these crimes. We thank Ilhan Omar for having the bravery to shake up the congressional taboo against criticizing Israel. As Jews with a long tradition of social justice and anti-racism, AIPAC does not represent us. #WeStandWithIlhan


Elizabeth Aaronsohn
Stephen Aberle
Manal Abed
Husni Abualeinein
Judith Ackerman
Ali Aijaz
Greta Aiken
David Fulton Akin, Human Being & Jewish Voice for Peace
Lisa Albrecht, Emeritus Professor, U. Minnesota, JVP
Deborah Allen
Marcia Almey
Hind Al Sharif
Harriszal Amiruddin
Vered Amit, Anthropologist
Zalman Amit, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Concordia University
Anthony Arnove, Editor, Author, Producer
Kate Aronoff, Journalist
Ashley Auer, Editor
Jonah ben Avraham, Jewish educator, International Socialist Organization
Abdul Aziz
Mohammad Aziz
Nate Baldo
Alice Beauchamp, Jews Against the Occupation, Sydney
Sherry Bender
Anna Berg, Holocaust survivor, JVP NYC
Michele Berkon, Sydney Jewish Left
Ben Berman
Ibrahim Binalsheikh
Jonah Michael Birch
Eric Blanc, Author, Journalist, Democratic Socialists of America
Benay Blend, Independent scholar
Elizabeth Block, Independent Jewish Voices
Robert Brenner, Director, Center for Social Theory and Comparative History, UCLA
Audrey Bomse, National Lawyers Guild, Daughter of Holocaust Survivor
Lawrence Boxall, Independent Jewish Voices
Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley
David Bragin, JVP NYC
Tibby Brooks, National Writers Union
Austin Campbell-Fox
Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Social and Political Theory, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
Rick Chertoff, Jewish Voices for Peace – Los Angeles
Molly Crabapple, Author Drawing Blood and Brothers of the Gun Alex Cohen, Cofounder, Earth Defense Coalition
Arielle Cohen, Democratic Socialists of America
Tom Corcoran
Jordan Cummings, Red Wedge Magazine and Glendon College
Mike Cushman, Chair Free Speech on Israel (UK)
Natalie Z. Davis, Historian
Dr. James Deutsch
Tara Ehrcke
Arlene Eisen, Writer
Hester Eisenstein, Professor at Queens College & CUNY Graduate Center
Zillah Eisenstein, Writer, Activist, Prof. Emerita, Anti-Racist Feminism, Ithaca College
Rami Elhan, Co-director, Parents Circle-Family Forum
Jonathan Engel, International Socialist Organization
Wolfe Erlichmann
Annette Exner
Michele Farber, International Socialist Organization
Samuel Farber, Author, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College
Jason Farbman, Democratic Socialists of America
Dror Feiler, European Jews for a Just Peace
Marian Feinberg
Madeleine Fenn, International Socialist Organization
Deborah Fink, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Co-founder
Erik M. Fink, Associate Professor, Elon University School of Law
David Finkel, Against the Current magazine
June Fisher, MD
Hannah Fleury, International Socialist Organization
Maxine Fookson
Inge Fowlie, Grew up in Nazi Germany
Libby Frank, WILPF
Nancy Fraser, Henry A and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, The New School
Racheli Gai
Cheryl Gaster
Sarah Gertler
Neta Golan, International Solidarity Movement, Return, Boycott From Within
Steve Goldfield, Activist, Journalist, Musician
Rachel Goldstein
Sandra Goldstein Lehnert, ISO, Camp Kinderland
Yoni Golijov, Filmmaker
Zoe Goorman, JVP, Artist
Sherry Gorelick, Professor Emerita, Rutgers University
Bob Green
Tony Greenstein, Brighton & Hove UNISON
Cathy Gulkin, Filmmaker
Ekram Haque
Mainul Haque
Sam Harb
Stanley Heller, Host “The Struggle” Video News
Charlotte Heltai, International Socialist Organization
Shir Hever
Reem Hijjawi
Tikva Honig-Parnass, Israeli historian and activist, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Laura Huel
Fayez Idlebi
Ellen Isaacs, JVP,
Sarah Jaffe, Journalist
Louis Kampf, MIT
Marylin Kanee
Ronnie Kasrils, Anti-apartheid veteran and former South African government minister (1994-2008)
Danny Katch, Author, International Socialist Organization
Bruce Katz, Palestinian and Jewish Unity Montreal
Mustafa Khalaf
Emma Klein
Naomi Klein, Journalist, Author, Professor at Rutgers University
Yael Korin
Dennis Kortheuer, People for Palestine – Israeli Justics
James Leas, Attorney
Alita Letwin, Jewish Voice for Peace
Daniel Letwin, Associate Professor of History, Penn State
David Letwin, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Michael Letwin, Attorney, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Labor for Palestine
Les Levidow, Jewish Network for Palestine (UK)
Joseph Levine
Daphna Levit, Author, Israeli Rejectionism
Kathryn Levy, Poet, Arts Educator
Lesley Levy, IJV
Avi Lewis, Filmmaker
Jennifer Loewenstein, Independent researcher
Jason Lowenthal
Mary Lucchese, JVP
Ken Luckhardt, Retired National Rep, CAW (Canada) Former Chair, South African Congress of Trade Unions Solidarity Committee
Moshé Machover, Israeli dissident, founding member of the socialist organization Matzpen
Laurie Izaks MacSween
Rania Madi, Switzerland
Jad Mahdi
Harriet Malinowitz, Ithaca College
Naseema Mall
Tom Mayer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder
Helaine Meisler, Jews Say No!
Chris Mejia, ISO
Manijeh Moradian, Professor Barnard College, Columbia University
Marion Munk Munk
Sarah Nesbit
Marcy Newman
Alex Nissen, Women in Black
Bertell Ollman, Professor, Department of Politics, NYU
Karin Pally
Rufus Palmer
Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian, author, activist
Maya Pasternak, Anarchists Against the Wall
Miko Peled, Writer, Human Rights Activist
Dan Macheret
Richard F Marcuse, Independent Jewish Voices
Aaron Martel, Tech Workers Coalition, ISO
Eva Steiner Moseley, Mass Peace Action
Henry Norr
Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Sakharov, Prize Laureate for Human Rights and the Freedom of Thought
Hilton Obenzinger, Writer
Laura Ottaviani
Adam Overton
Haley Pessin, International Socialist Organization
Rosalind Petchesky, Jewish Voices for Peace
Karen Platt, JVP San Francisco bay area chapter
Karen Pomer, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Granddaughter of Holocaust survivor
Charles Post, City University of New York
Denise Rickles
Elizabeth Roberts
Ned Rosch, Network Against Racism & Islamophobia
Keith Rosenthal, International Socialist Organization
Yehoshua Rosin, Gush-Shalom (peace block)
Martha Roth, Independent Jewish Voices-Canada
Marty Roth
Reuben Roth, Professor, Laurentian University, Canada
Rip Royees
William Ruhm
Peter Ruhm
Ed Rukab
Ben Saifer
Aileen Sabder
Jared Sacks, Columbia University
Adam Sanchez, Teacher and Editor, Rethinking Schools
Hana Sarfan
Karl Schwartz, International Socialist Organization
Stephanie Schwartz, International Socialist Organization
Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency
Carole Seligman, Socialist Viewpoint
Jennifer Selwyn, History Department, California State University
Cindy Shamban, JVP
Zarrin Shannon
Katharine Shapiro, Gardners Supply
Souad Sharabani
Hassan Shishakly
Yael Shomroni
Harold Shuster, Independent Jewish Voices – Winnipeg
Julia Shpirt
Abba A. Solomon, American Zionism researcher
Rebecca Anshell Song
Eric Soucy, International Socialist Organization
Marsha Steinberg, BDS LA
Alice Sturm Sutter, Union Square Women in Black
Yair Svorai
Tahir Abba Tahir, Young World Leaders Forum
Nuni Tal, Human Rights Activist
Pedro Tamames, NYU
Laura Tanenbaum, Professor, City University of New York
William Taylor
Daphna Thier, Israeli-American activist and writer
Hadas Thier, Israeli-American activist and writer
Tzvia Thier, Israeli Holocaust survivor, Jewish Voice for Peace NJ
Uri Thier, Ex-IDF Paratrooper
Maureen Tierney
Jane Toby, JVP and MECR (Middle East Crisis Response)
Bob Tripp
Seth Uzman, Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century
Joseph Van Leeuwen, Musician, great-grandson of Holocaust survivor
Rebecca Vilkomerson executive director, Jewish Voice for Peace
Lois Weiner, Author and independent researcher
Philip Weiss, writer, co-editor, Mondoweiss
Suzanne Berliner Weiss, Holocaust survivor
Suzi Weissman, Saint Mary’s College of California, Jacobin Radio
Eileen Weitzman
Paul Werner, The Orange Press
Sarah Wheels
Brett Wilkins
Ben Williams
Craig Willse
Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director, JVP
Ron Witton
Noga Gahl Wizansky, Artist, adjunct professor and union member, CCA and SEIU local 1021
Sherry Wolf, Author, International Socialist Organization
Derek Wright, Activist, musician, computer scientist, ISO
Richard Yanowitz
Zari Zalmai
Steven Zekowski
Annie Zirin
Dave Zirin, Author, A People’s History of Sports
Zohar, Artist, London England
Yotam Zohar, Artist and teacher
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My deep thanks to the writers and signers of this statement. It is an important statement to put on the record. It can be cited in the ongoing discussion to refute the factually empty, fear-mongering claims of the Israel lobby, and the Zionist choir who read from its script. The… Read more »

” The never-ending smear campaign against Ilhan Omar is racism and Islamophobia in action.” This is nonsense.