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Georgia Senate Runoff – Raphael Warnock and Israel

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Support for Israel MUST be bipartisan. Those of us who support Israel must resist those who try to make it a wedge issue between Democrats and Republicans.

There remains reason for concern, nonetheless, about the drift away from Israel in the Democratic Party. Supporters of bipartisanship cannot turn a blind eye to it, nor can they simply wish it away. While there continue to be strong supporters of Israel in the Democratic Party (such as Steny Hoyer and my own Congressman, Brad Schneider, among many others), a recent trend has found progressive candidates defeating long-term pro-Israel stalwarts in Democratic primaries, and then going on to win election to Congress. Illinois Democrat Dan Lipinski, the only member of the Illinois Congressional delegation to vote against the Iran Deal, was defeated in this way. Ditto for Eliot Engel of New York.

Which brings us to the two Georgia runoff elections for the Senate slated for January 5, 2021. One of the candidates, Democrat Raphael Warnock, has a history of negative statements about Israel. Because the two runoff elections will determine control of the Senate, progressive supporters of Warnock, a successor of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, argue that Rev. Warnock is anti-BDS and a supporter of Israel. Indeed, one progressive newsletter, which I’ve received at least three times since the Georgia runoffs were declared, insists:

Warnock opposes anti-Semitism in all forms. He’s critical of some actions of Israel’s government, but when it comes to what to do about it, his answer is a two state solution; he opposes BDS and opposes cutting or conditioning aid to Israel.

The newsletter provides links to Rev. Warnock’s Position Paper and Statement on Israel. But as is true for many who attempt such political spin, the newsletter omits a link to the very item that raised the issues of concern in the first place.

That item is a sermon that Rev. Warnock gave from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church on May 31, 2018. The full sermon is about 28 minutes long (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx9l8ypQ84U&feature=youtu.be&t=1124). The part of the sermon that raises the concerns begins at about the 18 minute mark. Watch it yourself and come to your own conclusions, but mine are below.

In that sermon, less than two years before he announced his candidacy for the Senate, he describes the prior week as a “tough week,” during which “[t]he administration opened up the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Standing there [were] the president’s family and a few mealy-mouthed evangelical preachers........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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