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Why Do Some US Congress Members Have Unwavering Hostility to Israel?

No matter what new way members of the Squad choose to demonize Israel, we will continue to fight for what is morally right on the streets.

No matter what we do, certain members of Congress will find a way to slander the Jewish state.

It was a busy week for Congress, as political tensions arose over issues surrounding Israel and antisemitism. These incidents happened just days before President Isaac Herzog’s address to a joint session of Congress to mark Israel’s 75th anniversary, when he reiterated the need for bipartisan support for Israel.

It started when a group of anti-Israel protesters hijacked and harassed a Jewish member of the Democratic party at Saturday’s keynote address at the Netroots Nation conference.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is a vocal critic of Israel’s current government, a proponent of a two-state solution, and has vocally supported Palestinians. But to anti-Zionists, she is just another Jewish person in their way. Her political stance did not matter as they continued to chant against her until she walked off the stage.

Why do some Congress members continue to vocally be hostile toward Israel?

In an attempt to placate the anti-Israeli protesters, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal stood up and said, “I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state!”

Jayapal’s disgusting comments rightfully triggered a backlash, so much so that she issued a statement where she corrected herself, writing: “I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist,” and attributed her comments to Israel’s current government.

This weak apology has no standing, since it was clear to Diaspora Jews what she meant. Her words have consequences, and whether she misspoke or not, her language harms Diaspora Jews by equating Jewish self-determination with racism. I have many issues with our current government and its policies, which I have condemned publicly, but Jayapal’s words did not refer to Israeli policy. Instead, they referred to the idea of a Jewish state.

Jayapal’s remarks prompted a resolution in Congress that clarified that Israel “is not a racist or apartheid state” and that the US rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia. It also reaffirmed the unwavering support and partnership between the United States and Israel. The resolution was passed by a vote of 412-9, with an overwhelming majority of 195 Democrats voting in favor.

The nine Congressional members of the Democrat party who opposed the resolution were representatives Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Summer Lee, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Andre Carson and Delia Ramirez. These nine Democrats are known as “the Squad” – notorious anti-Israel figures who make grand accusations against Israel being a racist and apartheid state while ignoring Palestinian terror groups.

Representatives like Tlaib and Omar will target and slander Israel while ignoring (and sometimes even supporting) dictators and human rights violators in Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. Squad members have actively harmed American Jews by opposing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, and pushing antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the world with money (who can forget Omar’s “it’s all about the Benjamins” tweet).

Nobody is surprised that these nine politicians opposed a resolution supporting the Jewish community, or that they rushed to Jayapal’s defense when she received backlash for her remarks.

These same representatives announced that they would not be attending President Herzog’s joint address to Congress. Omar tweeted, “There is no way in hell I am attending…” before she proceeded to go on a Twitter tirade in all caps. She went as far as to assert that both she and Tlaib were banned from entering Israel because they were Muslim women.

Israel did ban the two from entering, but it was because they supported the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (which Israeli law prohibits), as it seeks to harm and destroy Israel.

In the end, Israel granted Tlaib entry to visit her grandmother in the West Bank, but she refused to enter in protest of the Israeli government’s decision. The representatives who tweeted that they would not attend Herzog’s speech in protest included messages that slandered America’s strongest ally in the Middle East.

None of this is new. We have always known that these Congressional representatives would use any opportunity to slander Israel, especially during critical moments such as Herzog’s address. In the same way that anti-Israel hecklers did not care about Schakowsky’s political stance, the Squad members don’t care that hundreds of thousands of Israelis are protesting for the values that America cherishes.

When Israel faces such political turmoil, reaffirming the strong bond and relationship between Israel and the United States has never been more crucial. Yet, while Israelis take to the streets to fight for democracy and against political leaders trying to change our country’s character, the Squad uses the fringe to demonize the entire country. No matter how much Israelis try to fight for what is morally right, antisemites will find any way to delegitimize and demonize us.

With this in mind, Herzog’s address to Congress carried more weight than ever. At a time when certain members of Congress are finding any means possible to demonize the Jewish state, reaffirming the values that bond between our nations has never been more critical.

Herzog reminded Congress that while criticism of Israeli policy is valid, “questioning the Jewish people’s right to self-determination is not legitimate diplomacy; it’s antisemitism.”

No matter what new way members of the Squad choose to demonize Israel, we will continue to fight for what is morally right on the streets. The fact that we can, and care enough to do so, is why we are the only country in the region that can truly be America’s ally.

The writer is a social media activist with more than 10 years of experience working for Israeli and Jewish causes and cause-based NGOs. She is the co-founder and COO of Social Lite Creative, a digital marketing firm specializing in geopolitics.

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