Andy Levin on Israel and Antisemitism

During the recent hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Michigan Congressional Representative Andy Levin let everybody know, “I stand in solidarity with my fellow Jews who continue to face and witness senseless antisemitic violence.” This stance, of course, was such a no-brainer that even Rashida Tlaib, inbetween bashing Israel, stated her faux-support for Jews. But we’re not so sure Levin’s solidarity extends to all Jews.

According to interviews and his own press releases, Levin is “proudly Jewish” and is a “lifelong Zionist.” On the other hand, Levin also “believes US support for Israel, including US Jewish support needs recalibrating.” What does Levin mean by “recalibrating?” A look at his 2021 public record on Israel, Jews, and antisemitism might help us figure it out.

In his October 19, 2021 newsletter, Levin reminded constituents of his recent “Two-State Solution Act.” He also assured constituents that “U.S. security assistance to Israel cannot be used for occupation or annexation.” No mention was made of the foreign aid money that the Palestinian Authority uses to pay terrorists’ salaries, or how much has been diverted by Hamas to build its terrorist infrastructure. Only Israel is called out by Levin – for a non-existent occupation and for a proposed annexation that was dumped under public pressure.

Levin’s earlier press release on his bill claimed the bill will “promote diplomacy and peacebuilding between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.” But Levin ignored some inconvenient facts: the Palestinians have rebuffed every Israeli attempt at negotiating a two-state solution. Palestinians and their apologists reject Israel’s right to exist and consider all of Israel to be “occupied.” They demand a one state solution from the river to the sea. It’s Palestinian intransigence that precludes diplomacy and peacebuilding.

Levin’s bill calls East Jerusalem “occupied” even though it has never been under Palestinian sovereignty and was only a separate entity for the nineteen years it was illegally occupied by Jordan. Levin also considers Gaza to be occupied even though Israel uprooted every Jew from Gaza in 2006. Israel controls about 3% of Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority rules the rest. In other words, Levin’s Two-State Solution Act recalibrates reality to promote Palestinian demands.

Levin held his tongue when Tlaib and others lied as part of a January 2021 campaign of demonization that accused Israel of denying Covid vaccines to the Palestinian Authority. Rather than pointing out the PA’s refusal of Israeli vaccines and Tlaib’s lies, Levin chose silence. Eventually, when Palestinians did accept Israeli vaccines, Levin tweeted: “Such welcome news. It is critical that Palestinians have access to COVID-19 vaccines. I hope the Israeli government continues this urgent work so that we can put this pandemic behind us.”

Levin couldn’t even take Israel’s side this past May against 4300 Hamas missiles. He put out a May 14th press release “on Israel-Palestine Conflict.” His title of course, gives legitimacy to a Palestine that has never existed, but one whose proponents, as they chant “from the River to the Sea,” demand as a replacement for Israel. Levin paid lip service to Israel’s self defense needs and then went on to state “. . . Israel’s retaliatory strikes should not be grossly disproportionate . . . “ This means Hamas is free to attack Israel at will, while Israel must continue to carefully measure its response. This double standard will lead to more deaths on both sides.

The press release also stated that Israel is engaged in “a deliberate campaign to dilute the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem.” This was Levin’s answer to the Sheikh Jarrah real estate dispute which Hamas used as a pretext for its rocket attacks against Israel, and it put Levin in Hamas’ corner.

Levin further accused Israel of “forcing families from their homes” as part of a “systematic campaign” to “root out the Palestinian population so that Jerusalem can be proclaimed Jewish and ensure East Jerusalem cannot become the capital of a future Palestinian state.” Levin got these charges from Ir Amim, a group that accuses Israel of attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem, and that has come out against Israel’s security barrier, Jews visiting the Temple Mount, archaeological digs, and the erection of a cable car around Jerusalem’s Old City.

Levin could have reposted the easily accessible facts on the Sheikh Jarrah dispute. Instead, he decided to run with Ir Amim’s anti-Israel conspiracy theory.

After the fighting stopped, Levin publicly supported Ilhan Omar and her accusations of Israeli war crimes. Levin insisted that Omar was merely holding Israel accountable. The problem of course, is that Omar was holding Israel accountable for things Israel hadn’t done, just as she, Rashida Tlaib, other Congressional Israel-haters held Israel accountable for the Palestinian Authority’s vaccine failures.

Levin has never held Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, or any other Democrat accountable for their antisemitic statements. Instead, Levin tweeted, “weaponizing anti-Semitism to attack Muslim and other women of color . . . must end.”

“Weaponizing antisemitism” is a bogus term. It has no meaning. It is a weaponized term used by antisemites and their enablers to gaslight Jews and excuse antisemitism. So, while Levin makes a big deal over holding Israel, and only Israel accountable – over false charges, his antisemitic Congressional colleagues get a pass for real anti-Jewish blood libels.

Levin promotes himself as a proud Zionist, but one that always takes the anti-Israel side. He says he is proudly Jewish, but in addition to covering for Omar, Tlaib, and other friends who hold questionable views on Jews and Israel, he can’t unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism.

Levin gave a February 1st 2021 address to IfNotNow, a group that has disrupted Birthright trips and has recited Kaddish for Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists killed in battle by Israeli forces. While Israel was being bombarded by Hamas rockets in May, and Palestinians were rioting on the Temple Mount and calling for Tel Aviv to be destroyed, IfNotNow tweeted (and then deleted under public pressure): “Incredible, inspiring images of Palestinian resistance coming out of Jerusalem tonight. American Jews are with you.”

Levin told the IfNotNow crowd, “antisemitism cannot be confronted unless Palestinian human rights are respected.”

What do Jewish diners being attacked in LA, Jews being beaten on the streets of NYC, a machete attack at a Chanukah parties, Jews being murdered at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey, Jews being held hostage at a Texas synagogue, on top of 2000 years of antisemitic hatred and violence, have to do with Palestinian human rights?

Jews are 2% of the American population, but we’re subject to between 55% and 60% of religion-based hate crimes. According to Levin though, we can only confront this hatred conditionally, only if we place the Palestinians, who have created a society dedicated to the eradication of Israel and Jews, ahead of us.

If Levin is the proud Jew and Zionist that he claims to be, he needs to support Jews and Israel, not just when it’s easy, as in the case of Congregation Beth Israel, but always, whenever Jews, and that includes Israeli Jews, are being attacked, and even when Jews, including Israeli Jews dare to fight back against the hatred and violence directed at us. Any recalibration of support for Israel should be in strengthening that support. Anything less is a gift to the world’s Jew haters.

Afterthought: We haven’t yet heard anything from Levin regarding Amnesty International’s most recent attack on Israel. Is anybody else wondering why?