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Debbie Wasserman Schultz launches a black-Jewish caucus featuring ‘anti-Muslim bigot’ Lee Zeldin

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On Monday members from the House of Representatives announced the establishment of the  Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations, which was created to combat the rising tide of white nationalism. However, the group includes New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, the GOP congressman who has made headlines for his connections to the alt-right and his repeated attacks on Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar on Twitter.

The caucus was launched at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum, an annual event held in Washington D.C. In addition to Zeldin, its current members are Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI). “The African-American and Jewish communities have a history of standing together for the promotion of social justice and civil rights,” Lawrence said at the forum, “To encourage and nurture this unique partnership, I have formed the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations with the hopes of strengthening the trust and advancing our issues in a collective manner.”

Lee Zeldin has represented New York’s 1st district since 2015 and has been directly connected to anti-Muslim and white nationalist controversies throughout his political career. Shortly after arriving in congress he met with the Long Island chapter of The Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group whose website refers to former President Obama as a “Muslim/Extremist” and last June, one of his campaign rallies was headlined by former Trump official Sebastian Gorka, a noted Islamophobe with ties to Nazi groups. In February, Zeldin went on a Twitter tirade against Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after learning that she had become a member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. That same month, he attacked the congresswoman for drawing attention to the political influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After Omar apologized to those who might have perceived her tweet as antisemitic, Zeldin dismissed her apology as inauthentic. “The apology was obviously forced,” he said, “this is not something that she did on her own initiative and I don’t believe it’s going to be enough to stop the problematic behavior.”

In response to the establishment of the caucus, the Muslim activist Linda Sarsour called out the hypocrisy of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who refused to participate in January’s Women’s March over its alleged failure to adequately condemn antisemitism. “Ah I see [Schultz] didn’t want to march with the Women’s March citing bigotry’ but has no problem aligning & partnering with [Zeldin], a notorious anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim bigot who also targeted a Black Muslim Congresswoman. We know the truth. This is a joke.”

“Lee Zeldin is a white nationalist who had Steve Bannon headline a fundraiser for him and regularly weaponizes antisemitism to undermine Rashida and Ilhan,” tweeted Yonah Lieberman, a Jewish activist and leader of the anti-occupation group IfNotNow, “Disappointing that [Lawrence] and [Lewis] would work with someone like him on something as important as this.”

Zeldin is the only Jewish Republican in congress and one of its most vociferous pro-Israel voices.In 2017, he co-sponsored a piece of congressional legislation that would have made boycotting the state illegal.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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7 Responses

  1. eljay on June 5, 2019, 1:46 pm

    … “The African-American and Jewish communities have a history of standing together for the promotion of social justice and civil rights,” Lawrence said at the forum …

    Dunno about the African-American community, but when it comes to I-P the Jewish community* has chosen quite hypocritically to stand for injustice and immorality, for “necessary evil” and disrespect of human rights, for colonialism and (war) criminality and religion-based supremacism.
    (*a.k.a., the majority of Jewish Americans)

  2. JWalters on June 5, 2019, 7:39 pm

    “The African-American and Jewish-[American] communities have a history of standing together for the promotion of social justice and civil rights,”

    The Jewish-Israeli community, on the other hand, has a history of standing for the promotion of apartheid, terrorism, mass murder, and robbery. Hard to form a Jewish-Muslim caucus when you’re busy telling demonizing lies about the Muslims.

    This is a clear attempt to buy the silence and complicity of the African Americans in Congress. Unfortunately, the Israelis simply cannot be trusted. They’ll give you “generous donations” one day, and slaughter you the next. Remember the USS Liberty.

  3. Marnie on June 6, 2019, 4:04 am

    I had no idea wasserman was a member of Likud, the KKK, alt-right and american nazis. She must make them so proud! Waiting for a shout out from Richard Spencer and David Duke to her for her continued good work and from meghan mccain for refusing to participate in the women’s march – the women didn’t need ya Debbie. So sick of this woman.

  4. Misterioso on June 6, 2019, 10:32 am

    Do not despair!! Zionism is rotting within and its spawn, “Israel,” is finally being seen by ever increasing numbers of people around the world, especially and most importantly, youth, including Jews, as the evil, expansionist pariah it most certainly is. It is also patently obvious that panic is accelerating within Zionist ranks.

  5. just on June 6, 2019, 3:22 pm

    Good article by Josh Ruebner up at EI:

    “Will new Black-Jewish caucus in Congress advocate for Israel? …

    … Divided over Israel
    Studiously absent from the public launch of the caucus was any mention of an increasingly divisive issue between these two communities: Israel.

    A 2018 poll found that only 19 percent of Blacks believed Israel to be an ally of the United States as compared to 43 percent of whites.

    Eleven of the 30 co-sponsors of Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum’s groundbreaking legislation in the previous Congress advocating for Palestinian children’s human rights were members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    And Black-Palestinian solidarity has been resurgent in recent years, from the 2015 publication of the Black solidarity statement with Palestine, to the Movement for Black Lives’ support for Palestinian rights.

    Of course, Jewish American support for Israel is far from monolithic; however the institutions claiming to represent that community and many Jewish members of Congress have tended to take up Israel’s mantle.

    Facilitated by Israel lobby
    Despite the initial rhetorical focus from caucus members on domestic social justice issues, it is difficult to imagine that the newly formed Congressional Black-Jewish Caucus will not also be utilized as a vehicle to shore up Black political support for Israel both on and off Capitol Hill, for at least two reasons. …”

  6. vhervey on June 9, 2019, 8:10 am

    Just an FYI…NO ONE, and I repeat, NO ONE in the black community has anything to do with these Sambo organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Congressional Black Caucus. We know that they are for sale for anyone who waives a dollar in their face, along with the so-called “black” personalities on CNN and MSNBC. As Dr. John Henrik Clarke and others often said, there has NEVER been any “black-Jewish” alliance. It’s merely been a Zionists-Sambo (I use this word in the same context as Harriet Beecher Stowe) Stephin Fetchit relationship. Keep up the fight against Zionism and White Supremacy.

    • gamal on June 9, 2019, 11:15 am

      “NO ONE in the black community has anything to do with these Sambo organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Congressional Black Caucus”

      anyone interested could read Marcus Garveys “message to the people” edited by Dr. Tony Martin

      and look into the terms of the conflict between Du Bois and Garvey and the UNIA, and his distrust of the NAACP as they say whatever else Garveys words come to pass, he rejected Du Bois’ “dependance” on the good graces of the oppressor. The Garvey Must Go movement led by Du Bois and Philip A Randolph was ultimately successful but Theodore G Vincents ” Black Power and the Garvey Movement” makes interesting reading now.

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