The group Americans Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has sent a letter to Keith Ellison, calling on the Minnesota Attorney General to drop out of an event honoring the legacy of late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Next week, the group Americans for Peace Now (APN) will hold an online memorial celebrating Rabin. The memorial made headlines last month, after activists successfully pressured Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into withdrawing from it. Ellison (who became the first Muslim ever elected to congress in 2006) is still scheduled to participate.
Rabin, who was killed by a right-wing Israeli extremist in 1995, was a military leader during the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, signing the order to expel 50,000 Palestinians from their homes in the “Lydda Death March.” He also allegedly told his soldiers to break the bones of Palestinians who resisted during the First Intifada.
At Mondoweiss, David Samel recently wrote about “Operation Accountability,” which was carried out by Rabin while he was Prime Minister. In response to Hezbollah attacks on Israel military positions that killed seven IDF soldiers, Rabin bombed south Lebanon for a week. “Under Rabin’s orders, the IDF deliberately killed over 100 innocent civilians in Lebanon, destroying thousands of homes, all with the reprehensible motivation of triggering a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of terrified civilians,” explained Samel. “Early in the operation, Israel’s proxy militia, the South Lebanon Army, broadcasted ‘warnings urging the residents of more than 30 villages, including three Palestinian refugee camps, to leave ‘because your villages are going to be bombarded.’ According to a New York Times report at the time Rabin himself unequivocally acknowledged that he was targeting civilians: ‘If there will be no quiet and safety for the northern settlements, there will be no quiet and safety for south Lebanon residents north of the security zone.'”
AMP’s letter to Ellison details some of the atrocities connected to Rabin and urges Ellison to reconsider The group’s West Coast Regional Director Shakeel Syed told Mondoweiss, “We do not understand Mr. Ellison’s rationale to be speaking at an event that’s honoring a war criminal.”
While he was running to chair the Democratic National Committee in 2016, Ellison publicly condemned the BDS movement. “I have long supported a two-state solution and a democratic and secure state for the Jewish people, with a democratic and viable Palestinian state side-by-side in peace and dignity,” Ellison said in a statement at the time. “I don’t believe boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israel helps us achieve that goal.”
Ellison’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.