Ossoff, Warnock, Biden Re Israel

Although The Third Narrative is nonpartisan, we examine the impact of politics (whether in the US, Israel or academia) on Israel and the Jewish community.  It is in this spirit that TTN reproduces the following, selected in abridged form from Steven Richard Sheffey’s weekly newsletter, “Chicagoland Pro-Israel Political Update,” focusing on the two US Senate runoff elections in Georgia, culminating Jan. 5th:  

. . . 98 Down, 2 To Go

Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are strong supporters of Israel with deep ties to the Georgia Jewish community. But true to the GOP playbook, baseless attacks designed to divide the Black and Jewish communities, as well as to split the Jewish community, have been launched against Rev. Warnock.

Warnock is a progressive who speaks with moral authority (he holds Martin Luther King Jr.’s pulpit), who sees problems with Israel’s administration of the West Bank, and who rejects claims that Israel is an apartheid state, opposes BDS and conditioning/cutting aid to Israel, and sees working toward a two state solution as the answer, all of which he outlines here. Warnock believes that “being a true friend also means being a truth-teller who does not shy away from hard conversations,” and he models how to have those conversations while still supporting Israel.

I worry that some in our community are, whether they know it or not, allowing racism to cloud their judgment. Yehuda Kurtzer writes that “this practice of attempting to tar Democratic politicians as anti-Israel is common and old; but it is also disproportionately and instinctively done to candidates who are people of color. This is not only inaccurate as relates to these communities; it is not only a racist thing to do; it is also unbelievably self-defeating to those very sectors of the Jewish community who would like to see continued bipartisan support for the State of Israel.”

Republicans are putting him under a microscope even though two weeks ago, his opponent, Sen. Kelly Loefler, warmly embraced the endorsement of Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the anti-Semitic QAnon supporters who was just elected to Congress.

Warnock has never said anything even remotely anti-Semitic, and he never defended any anti-Israel or anti-Semitic comments made by Jeremiah Wright (Warnock has defended Wright’s use of inflammatory language in talking about the historic injustices that Black Americans have faced).

Warnock understands that while Israel is imperfect, it needs and deserves our support. In Warnock’s case, this understanding is based on the facts and on his strong Christian faith.

Those spreading this nonsense about Warnock should be ashamed. They are trying to divide the Black community from the Jewish community and trying to divide the Jewish community internally. That might be smart politics for Republicans because few Blacks or Jews vote Republican anyway, but politicization of anti-Semitism and the U.S.-Israel relationship is not good for the Jewish community, not good for Israel, and should be condemned by Jews across the political spectrum, especially Jewish organizations who claim the mantle of bipartisanship or nonpartisanship.

Ossoff is running against Sen. David Perdue and Warnock is running against Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Read Ossoff’s position paper on Israel, Warnock’s position paper on Israel, and Warnock’s statement on Israel.

Biden is good for Israel.

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in my discussions with Republicans about Israel. When I point out, with hard facts, that the information they had about Democrats and Israel was incorrect, instead of being relieved to know that Democrats do support Israel–the reaction you’d expect from anyone who genuinely believed in bipartisan support for Israel–they sometimes cling to their erroneous beliefs, almost as if they want Democrats to be bad on Israel to justify the political choices they’ve made.

I don’t expect Republicans to agree with every item on Biden’s agenda, including his approach to climate change, COVID, healthcare, and a myriad of other issues. They are Republicans, after all. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that, if they truly care about the U.S.-Israel relationship, they will read the Democratic Platform, read Biden’s record on Israel, and acknowledge that Tzipi Livni is right: Joe Biden is good for Israel.

Aaron David Miller explains that while Trump was good for Bibi, Biden will be better for Israel. Commanders for Israel’s Security “have no doubt that the strategic alliance between Israel and the US will only grow stronger under [Biden’s] presidency” and see Biden’s presidency as a chance for Israel to “move from managing the conflict to managing a solution.” That’s good. It shouldn’t be hard to say it.