Jews stand against the smearing of Ilhan Omar

March 6, 2019

Congressional Democrats are attempting to discipline Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar for speaking critically about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — and more generally in defense of Palestinian rights — after smearing her as “anti-Semitic.” This comes at the same time that Omar, one of the only Muslim representatives in Congress, has been targeted for death threats and Islamophobic propaganda likening her to those who carried out the 9/11 attacks.

But as a statement circulated among Jewish leftists makes clear, criticism of Israel’s policies, of its treatment of Palestinians, and of the unwavering support of successive U.S. administrations for apartheid isn’t anti-Semitism — it’s respect for human rights. Here, we reprint the statement of Jews with Ilhan.

NAOMI KLEIN, Ilan Pappé, Ronnie Kasrils, Sarah Jaffe, Rebecca Vilkomerson and many more say: 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 New York City 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.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar

There is no denying that money rules U.S. politics, and that powerful lobbies from the National Rifle Association 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
Ethan Ackelsberg, International Socialist Organization, OSU Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Judith Ackerman Adeela
Mohamed Oueld Ahmed
Ali Aijaz
Greta Aiken
David Fulton Akin, human being, Jewish Voice for Peace
Emad Alahmad
Lisa Albrecht, Emeritus Professor, University of Minnesota, Jewish Voice for Peace
Deborah Allen
Marcia Almey
Hind Al Sharif
Harriszal Amiruddin
Vered Amit, anthropologist
Zalman Amit, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Concordia University
Beth Angel, Jewish Voice for Peace
Mike Arad
Yigal Arens
Anthony Arnove, editor, author, producer
Kate Aronoff, journalist
Ashley Auer, editor
Mary Avice
Jonah ben Avraham, Jewish educator, International Socialist Organization
Chaya bat Avraham v’Sarah
Abdul Aziz
Mohammad Aziz
Eviatar Bach
Nate Baldo
Anna Baltzer, Jewish Voice for Peace; descendant of Holocaust survivors and fighters in the Belgian Resistance
Noah Barer
Daniel Barg
Jan Bauman
Alice Beauchamp, Jews Against the Occupation, Sydney
Sherry Bender
Anna Berg, Holocaust survivor, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC
Michele Berkon, Sydney Jewish Left
Michael Berkowitz, SEIU and IFPTE, Local 21 (retired)
Greta Berlin, co-founder, the Free Gaza Movement
Cy Berlowitz
Judith A. Berlowitz, Bay Area Women in Black
Ben Berman
Sam Bernstein
Adam Bierman, engineer
Ibrahim Binalsheikh
Jonah Michael Birch
David Blake
Eric Blanc, author, journalist, Democratic Socialists of America
Benay Blend, independent scholar
Elizabeth Block, Independent Jewish Voices
Riley Bloomer-Ludwig, teacher
Susan Braverman, Jewish Voice for Peace
Lenni Brenner, MECC
Robert Brenner, director, Center for Social Theory and Comparative History, UCLA
Audrey Bomse, National Lawyers Guild, daughter of Holocaust survivor
Anne Bowers
Lawrence Boxall, Independent Jewish Voices
Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC-Berkeley
David Bragin, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC
Tibby Brooks, National Writers Union
Tami Bryant, Russian Jew
Austin Campbell-Fox
Chase Carter, Jewish Voice for Peace-D.C. Metro
Mohamed Chaabani
Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Social and Political Theory, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
Rick Chertoff, Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles
Dr. Eyal Clyne
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)
Jordan Daniels
Natalie Z. Davis, historian
Levy Dayan
Rebecca Dayan
Sheila Delany, Simon Fraser University
Larry Derfner, Israeli journalist
Dr. James Deutsch
Claire Diamond
Julie Dinnerstein
Karen Doolittle
Howard Druan, J.D.
Barry Drummond
Tara Ehrcke
Arlene Eisen, Writer
Hester Eisenstein, professor at Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center
Zillah Eisenstein, writer, activist, Professor Emerita, Anti-Racist Feminism, Ithaca College
Rami Elhanan, co-director, Parents Circle-Family Forum
Robert Henry Eller, 10 commandments, Rabbi Hillel’s teachings
Jonathan Engel, International Socialist Organization
Wolfe Erlichmann
Marla Erlien
Maia Ettinger
Annette Exner
Michele Farber, International Socialist Organization
Samuel Farber, author, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College
Jason Farbman, Democratic Socialists of America
Naama Farjoun
Dror Feiler, European Jews for a Just Peace
Marian Feinberg
Peter Feld
Madeleine Fenn, International Socialist Organization
Josh Fernandez
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
Dan Fishback, Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council
June Fisher, MD
Hannah Fleury, International Socialist Organization
Maxine Fookson
Inge Fowlie, grew up in Nazi Germany
Libby Frank, WILPF
Cynthia Franklin, University of Hawaii
Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, The New School
Aaron Freedman, Democratic Socialists of America-NYC
Dr. Michael Friedman
Sam Friedman, Jewish Voice for Peace-Central New Jersey, author, poet
Ronald Kevin Fuermann
Racheli Gai
Matthew Gallelli
Suzanne Gannon
Gloria Garcia
Cheryl Gaster
Alisa Gayle-Deutsch
Joel Geier, International Socialist Organization
Jonathan Gelernter, UC Irvine
Ronny Geller
Ben Ger, Independent Jewish Voices-Vancouver
Sarah Gertler
Evan Giller
Sam Gindin, former research director, CAW now Unifor
Ira Glunts
Ella Godt
Neta Golan, International Solidarity Movement, Return, Boycott From Within
Steve Goldfield, activist, journalist, musician
Rachel Goldstein
Sandra Goldstein Lehnert, International Socialist Organization, Camp Kinderland
Yoni Golijov, filmmaker
Zoe Goorman, Jewish Voice for Peace, artist
Sherry Gorelick, Professor Emerita, Rutgers University
Bob Green
Tony Greenstein, Brighton and Hove UNISON
Cathy Gulkin, filmmaker
Andrew Paul Gutierrez, Professor Emeritus, UC-Berkeley
Freda Guttman
Tufik Habib
Ekram Haque
Mainul Haque
Lawrence Hamilton
Kenneth Hammond, Brisbane Australia
Sam Harb
Stanley Heller, host, “The Struggle” Video News
Elliot Helman, Jewish Voice for Peace
Charlotte Heltai, International Socialist Organization
Shir Hever
Reem Hijjawi
Myles Hoenig, Baltimore County Green Party
Tikva Honig-Parnass, Israeli historian and activist, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss
Charlotte Hovland
Laura Huel
Kimberly Hughes
Fayez Idlebi
Ellen Isaacs, Jewish Voice for Peace,
Sarah Jaffe, journalist
Donald Johnson, retired California professional engineer
Louis Kampf, MIT
Marylin Kanee
Ronnie Kasrils, anti-apartheid veteran and former South African government minister (1994-2008)
Robert Kastner, Berkeley City College
Danny Katch, author, International Socialist Organization
Bruce Katz, Palestinian and Jewish Unity Montreal
Erica Kay
Melissa Kelly
Mustafa Khalaf
Yossi Khen, peace activist
Amy Klee, Public School SLP
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Emma Klein
Grace Klein, International Socialist Organization
Naomi Klein, journalist, author, professor at Rutgers University
Mark Klein
William Klein
Yael Korin
Dennis Kortheuer, People for Palestine-Israeli Justice
Jake Krakovsky
Francis Kromkowski, Helena Service for Peace and Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Richard Lachmann, University at Albany-SUNY
David Lane
Lenny Lapon, retired teacher, Boston Latin School
James Leas, attorney
Rachel Lederman
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
Andrea Levy, Canadian Dimension magazine
Kathryn Levy, poet, arts educator
Lesley Levy, International Jewish Voice
Avi Lewis, filmmaker
Brenda Lewis
Emma Liss
John Loeffel, Sr.
Jennifer Loewenstein, independent researcher
Jason Lowenthal
Dalal Lubbadeh
Mary Lucchese, Jewish Voice for Peace
Ken Luckhardt, retired national representative, CAW (Canada), former chair, South African Congress of Trade Unions Solidarity Committee
Dan Macheret
Moshé Machover, Israeli dissident, founding member of the socialist organization Matzpen
Brian Madden
Laurie Izaks MacSween
Rania Madi, Switzerland
James Joseph Madigan
Jad Mahdi
Khalil Mahdi
John Maier
David Makofsky, research anthropologist, Minority Studies Center, China
Harriet Malinowitz, Ithaca College
Naseema Mall
Charles Manekin
Helga Mankowitz, Independent Jewish Voices
Ben Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation, president
Richard F. Marcuse, Independent Jewish Voices
Nigel Marshall, Yoga teacher
Aaron Martel, Tech Workers Coalition, International Socialist Organization
Tom Mayer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder
Rachel Megibow
Helaine Meisler, Jews Say No!
Chris Mejia, International Socialist Organization
Jake Meoff
Sue Michalson
Rabbi David Mivasair, Jewish Voice for Peace
Elizabeth M. Molchany, attorney at law
Mustafa Moneir
Frances Montell
Manijeh Moradian, professor, Barnard College, Columbia University
Seth Morrison
Eva Steiner Moseley, Mass Peace Action
Marion Munk Munk
Baphomet Nayer
Sarah Nesbit
David Newman, Congregation Havurah Shalom
Marcy Newman
Alex Nissen, Women in Black
Judith Norman
Henry Norr
Adam Nuchtern
Bertell Ollman, professor, Department of Politics, NYU
Hilton Obenzinger, writer
Laura Ottaviani
Adam Overton
Karin Pally
Rufus Palmer
Inbal Palombo
Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian, author, activist
Maya Pasternak, Anarchists Against the Wall
Joanie Patel
Miko Peled, writer, human rights activist
Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Sakharov Prize laureate for Human Rights and the Freedom of Thought
Miranda Pennell
Tom Pessah, activist and sociologist, Israel
Haley Pessin, International Socialist Organization
Rosalind Petchesky, Jewish Voice for Peace
Karen Platt, Jewish Voice for Peace, San Francisco-Bay Area chapter
Shachaf Polakow, photographer and organizer
Karen Pomer, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, granddaughter of Holocaust survivor
David Poms
Vivienne Porzsolt, Jews Against the Occupation, Australia
Charles Post, City University of New York
Michelle Reeves
Hilda J. Richey
Denise Rickles
Sheldon Ranz, Social Democrats USA
Robert Riddle
Matt L. Roar, writer
Elizabeth Roberts
Jonathan Rochkind
Ned Rosch, Network Against Racism and Islamophobia
Carl Rosenberg
Lillian Rosengarten
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
Kemo Sabe
Jared Sacks, Columbia University
Vasant Sagar
Alan Saltzman
Larry Saltzman
Adam Sanchez, teacher and editor, Rethinking Schools
Seth Sanders, UC-Davis Religious Studies department and Jewish Studies program
Hana Sarfan
Arielle Schecter, Jewish Voice for Peace
Guenter Schenk, France
Judah Schept
Alta Schwartz
Karl Schwartz, International Socialist Organization
Stephanie Schwartz, International Socialist Organization
Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency
Sylvia Schwarz, Jewish Voice for Peace-Twin Cities
Daniel Segal
Carole Seligman, Socialist Viewpoint
Jennifer Selwyn, History Department, California State University
Yom Shamash, Independent Jewish Voices
Cindy Shamban, Jewish Voice for Peace
Zarrin Shannon
Katharine Shapiro, Gardners Supply
Souad Sharabani
Eva M. Sharell, Independent Jewish Voices
Hanoch Sheinman
Hassan Shishakly
Sid Shniad, Independent Jewish Voices-Canada
Yael Shomroni
Harold Shuster, Independent Jewish Voices-Winnipeg
Julia Shpirt
Sarah Sills, Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC
Drew Silver
Benjamin Silverman
Ben Silverstein
Richard Silverstein, Tokun Olam
Michael Simon
Lorrie Beth Slonsky, retired paramedic
Carol Smith, Jewish Voice for Peace-NY
Abba A. Solomon, American Zionism researcher
Louisa Solomon
Rebecca Anshell Song
Patricia Sonne
Doris Audrey Soroko
Eric Soucy, International Socialist Organization
Ben Spatz, Urban Research Theater
Daniel Spector
Marshall Steinbaum
Marsha Steinberg, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions-LA
Judith Stevenson
Ken Stone, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada
Cathy Sucher
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
Abbas Tehrani
Larry Tepper
Simine Tepper
Tricia Terwilliger, social justice activist, artist, writer
Daphna Thier, Israeli-American activist and writer
Hadas Thier, Israeli-American activist and writer
Tzvia Thier, Israeli Holocaust survivor, Jewish Voice for Peace-New Jersey
Uri Thier, ex-IDF paratrooper
Maureen Tierney
Jane Toby, Jewish Voice for Peace and Middle East Crisis Response
Bob Tripp
Richard Trotsky
Marianne Turner
Sandra Turner, JPVP
Drew Ullman, Columbus Democratic Socialists of America
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
Larry Wang
Dr. Rodney Watts, JFJFP
Eileen Weinberg
Lois Weiner, author and independent researcher
Philip Weiss, journalist, Mondoweiss
Suzanne Berliner Weiss, Holocaust survivor
Suzi Weissman, Saint Mary’s College of California, Jacobin Radio
Eileen Weitzman
David Weller, Independent Jewish Voices-Canada
Paul Werner, The Orange Press
Sarah Wheels
Brett Wilkins
Ben Williams
Lew Williams, SURJ
Craig Willse
Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director, Jewish Voice for Peace
Ron Witton
Noga Gahl Wizansky, artist, adjunct professor and union member, CCA and SEIU Local 1021
Sherry Wolf, author, International Socialist Organization
Martin Wolterding, University of Western Sydney
Kathy Wouk, Jewish Voice for Peace
Derek Wright, activist, musician, computer scientist, International Socialist Organization
Rama Yacobi
Richard Yanowitz
Ethan Young,
Zari Zalmai
Steven Zekowski
Charles Zimmerman
Annie Zirin
Dave Zirin, author, A People’s History of Sports
Zohar, artist, London England
Yotam Zohar, Artist and teacher
Ian Zuckerman

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