Georgia Senate Run-Off, Jews, and Anti-Semitism
On one side, there is the Democrat, Raphael Warnock.
On the other side, there is the Republican, Kelly Loeffler. I don't know much about her, but I do know that there she has no anti-Semitic rants on YouTube. I am positive of this, because if there were, they would have been reported and reprinted daily by every major American news source, most of which have ignored Warnock's comments.
So, how are Jews in Georgia lining up for this vote?
Some Jews are outraged at Warnock's anti-Semitism. Other Jews, not so much. In fact:
A group of nearly 200 rabbis and faith leaders signed a letter defending Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Georgia’s special runoff election, after he came under fire for his past comments, including a 2018 sermon in which the pastor accused Israel of shooting down “unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.”
“As rabbis and religious leaders, we recognize and respect the devotion to his Christian faith that underlies Rev. Raphael Warnock’s strong support for Israel and his partnership with the Jewish people,” reads the letter, spearheaded by the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “Rev. Warnock recognizes that being a true friend also means being a truth-teller who does not shy away from hard conversations, and he has made no secret of his strong reservations and concerns over Israeli settlement expansion, which may impede prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
But we're told we shouldn't worry because:
In an editorial recently shared with JI, titled “I Stand with Israel,” Warnock writes: “Without reservation, you can count on me to stand with the Jewish community and Israel in the U.S. Senate.” Warnock detailed his position on a number of issues, including his support for the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, his rejection of conditioning financial aid to Israel and his hope that a two-state solution can be achieved.
And we are supposed to believe him because . . . because . . . well, I'm not really sure why. Jews who place their Democratic politics over their Judaism also believe him. As Jonathan Tobin points out:
Is that enough to get Warnock off the hook for the past? As far as his Jewish Democratic friends are concerned, the answer is "yes."
The truth is, they'd be loath to oppose any African-American Democrat in the wake of the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement this year, let alone one who is as well-connected as Warnock. His stature as King's successor is such that most Jewish Democrats truly do see him as not only an ally, but as someone whose powerful rhetoric evokes genuine admiration.
But their willingness to overlook his radicalism and his embrace of intersectionality – a movement that is inherently hostile to both Israel and Jews since both are assumed by its adherents to be "white oppressors" – is hypocritical as well as worrisome.
By contrast, the Georgia Jewish community has understandably been quite vocal in its denunciation of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican just elected to the House of Representatives from a rural Georgia district. She had previously voiced support for QAnon conspiracy theories that are linked to anti-Semitism, even if she has been a consistent supporter of Israel. Like Warnock and his views about Israel, Greene has repented of her folly and now distances herself from extremism. But as far as Jewish Democrats are concerned, she is not worthy of the same consideration as Warnock and is therefore still damned as a mouthpiece for radical nut jobs.
Sara Lehman, in her Times of Israel blog, gives a pretty solid, complete run down of Warnock's anti-Semitism and Georgia's Jews reaction to it. And as always in this kind of situation, it is the reaction of Jews to the people who would persecute them that is troubling. While some support Loeffler, for many Jews a Democratic Jew-hater is preferable to any Republican. Some of the comments to the article are telling.
According to one:
The greater good is what is important here. The dems need to get back the Senate in order to get anything done. They need to back Warnock. But Warnock is NOT anti-Israel. Being critical of Bibi doesn't mean he's anti-Israel, he's just anti-Bibi.
Another one wrote:
The US desperately needs to have a Democratic controlled Senate.
That's the only thing that really matters right now.
Even if Warnock is anti-Israel, in spite of his demurrers, he's only one voice in the Senate, and Israel is not the most important item on the US agenda.
There are others. There are arguments going back and forth as is typical in a comments section. It does seem that for some Jews there is no historical memory but there is a willful, politically-based blindness to current anti-Semitism and a willingness to believe the worst about the world's only Jewish state, the one place on Earth, where if things truly do get bad, as they are getting in France and other European countries, we Jews have refuge. Sadly, even if we are forced to find out the hard way, it still won't convince all of the deluded.