May 30, 2024
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Sorry to See Rep. Pascrell Join ‘Delegitimization of Israel’ Movement

The (edited) text of an email The Jewish Link received this week:

“Jews are murdered savagely with axes by Palestinians in a central town of El-Ad in Israel, and there is no investigation by the world’s media, by Congress, by the UN, or by the International Criminal Court.

“But when a Palestinian journalist puts herself recklessly in the middle of intense crossfire and gets shot, there is an outcry, the likes of which we haven’t seen in years.”

The killing last week of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in a Jenin war zone made headlines around the world, unlike the 19 Israelis killed in cold blood in Israel over the past 45 days, most of them unarmed civilians going about their business.

Our own Rep. Bill Pascrell didn’t sign a letter calling for an investigation into the deaths of the 19 Israelis.

Or is it just journalists he cares about? No, he also did not call for investigations into the seven journalists killed in the Russo-Ukrainian war since March. The dead include American documentarian Brent Renaud. When asked if he had requested an FBI investigation into Mr. Renaud’s death, The Jewish Link received the following reply: “Rep. Pascrell has called for overwhelming consequences for the Russian army that killed Mr. Renaud and thousands of others and has voted to send billions in aid to the Ukrainian government to hold those guilty parties accountable for their mass atrocities,” said Rep. Pascrell spokesman Mark Greenbaum.

But the congressman did take the lead on calling for the State Department to investigate the death of journalist Abu Akleh, in a Palestinian-Israeli war zone.

Congressman Pascrell was one of three members of the House of Representatives—along with Reps. Andre Carson and Lou Correa—who led this effort. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and 51 other House Democrats joined in signing this letter to the State Department, calling for an FBI investigation into her death.

Micha Danzig of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal said the death of Abu Akleh was “emblematic of the Arab-Israeli conflict itself, and how the media typically covers it,” noting that any coverage of Israel in the news tends toward the “Three-Ds,” as explained by Natan Sharansky: demonization, delegitimization and double standards.

According to Danzig: “Demonization: Every time Israel responds to attacks on Israelis, it is always the response that gets the bulk of the reporting; and often to the exclusion of even reporting on why Israel was deploying its military in the first place.

“Deligitimization: If Israeli soldiers, without any context or apparent cause are going into places like Jenin ‘guns blazing,’ then why not accuse them of ‘murder’ without any evidence—as Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and many international media outlets did within minutes of Abu Akleh’s death, and before there was even a hint of an investigation (let alone an impartial one using actual forensics).”

Double standards: Again, Danzig: “Regarding the death of Abu Akleh that double standard is also made evident by some simple Google searches. In the past five years about 400 journalists have been killed covering conflict zones. None have generated a fraction of the media and social media attention that Abu Akleh’s death has generated in barely two days.”

Does Rep. Pascrell believe that Israel had no right to be where it was when Abu Akleh was killed? Has he now begun to believe the social media hype that Israel is just attacking people, particularly journalists, without reason? Did he forget that the weapons being held in Jenin are used, sometimes merely days later, to conduct terror attacks on Israeli citizens?

When asked why he chose to take on this project, The Jewish Link received the following response: “Like other cases of American citizens being killed abroad, our simple request to the State Department and Justice Department seeks nothing more than answers on what happened – without any prejudgment,” said Rep. Pascrell’s spokesman Mark Greenbaum. “When a citizen of the United States is killed anywhere, the American people deserve to know exactly what happened. In this case of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, all people: Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians, deserve those answers.”

But we know better. Rep. Pascrell does not regularly call for investigations into warzone casualties. We fear that Rep. Pascrell may have begun to join the rest of the anti-Zionist, Jew-hating members of his party, concluding that Jews and our state is illegitimate and not ours to defend. Maybe we should all let him know what we think of this: 202-225-5751.

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