Some past statements from Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate challenging Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in a Senate run-off race in January, have been brought to light and are being criticized for being anti-Semitic.
A group of traditional Jewish rabbis called out Warnock for his “anti-Semitic rhetoric” and took to task a left-leaning Jewish group for defending him and attempting to “whitewash” those prior offenses, Breitbart reported.
“We are concerned”
Four rabbis with the Coalition for Jewish Values, two of whom are from Georgia, signed the letter addressed to the liberal Jewish Democratic Council of America with regard to its defense and support for Warnock’s candidacy in the Senate race.
“[W]e are concerned and hurt by the manner in which the Reverend brushed aside his past rhetoric against Israel and the Jewish community, and even blamed his opponents for ‘trying to use Israel as yet another wedge issue,'” the rabbis wrote.
They also took issue with a letter circulated by JDCA that claimed Warnock had been subjected to “baseless claims and attack” by his political opposition. “It is not just his political opponents, but anyone troubled by rising Antisemitism in America, who should be alarmed by Rev. Warnock’s past statements. To term these serious concerns ‘baseless’ is irresponsible,” they wrote.
Antisemitism from Warnock
The CJV rabbis noted that although Warnock now says he doesn’t believe Israel is an “apartheid state,” it was just last year that Warnock signed a statement from Black denominational leaders of the National Council of Churches following a trip to Israel. The statement accused the Jewish nation of engaging in “dehumanizing dispossession, colonialism, segregation and apartheid” and directly compared the “heavy militarization of the West Bank” with the military occupation of Namibia by apartheid South African forces.
Further, the rabbis pointed out that while Warnock has recently condemned the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement, he has nevertheless expressed support for “utilizing economic pressure” against Israel to effect change — the exact model and goal of BDS.
They also took issue with the way Warnock brushed aside concerns about the seemingly anti-Semitic language he had used about Israelis shooting unarmed Palestinians while delivering a sermon in 2018. Warnock claimed he was only discussing “the issue of activists and human rights and the ability of people to be heard.”
“This non-answer is frightening,” the rabbis countered. “How was speaking about human rights and being heard relevant to his claim that ‘we saw the government of Israel shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey?'” they wrote, adding, “We must say this openly: Rev. Warnock misused his pulpit to bear false witness. He saw no such thing, because it never happened. Each and every element of his statement was false, defamatory, and bigoted.”
The letter continued to press the Jewish group on questions that cannot be brushed aside by anyone who cares about Israel and the Jewish people. “And thus we must ask: when, and in what circumstance, did Rev. Warnock reject his aforementioned previous, hateful positions?” the letter asked.
It continued, “Did he, in an apolitical context, renounce the Antisemitic rhetoric found in the Group Pilgrimage Statement, and remove his signature? Did he retract his lie that Israeli soldiers shoot Arab children at will? Has he acknowledged openly that his statements regarding Israel were false and slanderous, and naturally incited hatred against Jews?”
“We hope to hear from you that there is clear and compelling evidence that Rev. Warnock renounced these positions before seeking public office,” the rabbis concluded. “Otherwise, it remains clear that placing him in a position of power would be playing a dangerous gamble with history’s longest form of hate.”