Calling Israel ‘apartheid state’ provokes anti-Semitism

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A Democratic congressman from Minnesota called out far-left members of the progressive House “Squad” Monday, claiming that their rhetoric toward Israel was helping to provoke anti-Semitic violence.

“We know we have a problem on the right,” Rep. Dean Phillips, who is Jewish, told CNN. “We have [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene [R-Ga.] spewing Nazi rhetoric almost every other day.

“But now we’re seeing attacks from the left, and just as the former president [Donald Trump] called COVID the ‘China flu,’ which provoked attacks on Asian Americans, calling Israel a ‘terrorist state’ or an ‘apartheid state,’ to me, is doing the same thing to the Jewish community, which has been persecuted for so many generations.”

While Phillips did not mention any of his fellow lawmakers by name, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress blasted the Biden administration on the House floor earlier this month for sending money to what she described as Israel’s “apartheid government.”

On the same day, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “far-right ethno-nationalist.”

On May 24, amid a spate of anti-Semitic attacks and vandalism in cities across America, Phillips tweeted that he would “say the quiet part out loud.”

“[I]t’s time for ‘progressives’ to start condemning anti-semitism and violent attacks on Jewish people with the same intention and vigor demonstrated in other areas of activism,” he wrote. “The silence has been deafening.”

“I’m 52 years old. I’ve never had to stand up in this way in my entire life,” Phillips said Monday. “As I’ve said … these are the times my grandparents, my great-grandparents warned me about.”

The second-term Congressman later repeated: “It’s time to stand up and ask my progressive friends and colleagues and brothers and sisters to recognize what is at stake here and to look back in history, not long ago, in Germany, where Jewish people felt as safe as they do in America right now.

“But these are the signs and signals that are very disconcerting for the community, and I feel an obligation to point that out, and not condemn, but invite my progressive colleagues to help us.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said last week that it had received reports of 222 anti-Semitic incidents in the US between May 10 and May 23, a period that included the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas.

That number represented an 75 percent increase over the period between April 26 and May 9, when 127 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to the ADL from across the US.



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