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Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | March 5, 2019 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) unequivocally condemns the Democratic leadership’s introduction of a resolution, targeting Congresswoman Omar and falsely conflating any criticism of Israel’s policies with anti-Semitism. ADC applauds the Congresswoman for taking principled positions in support of Palestinian and universal human rights. Introducing the resolution is an unjustified reaction to Congresswoman Omar exercising her first amendment rights.
The purpose of the resolution has nothing to do with combatting anti-Semitism; rather the purpose of the resolution is to silence any criticism of Israel coming from elected officials. Criticizing Israel is not a crime, and it is not anti-Semitic. If Democratic leadership is serious about combating hate and bigotry, any resolution introduced must also condemn anti-Arab sentiment, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and all forms of hate and bigotry which plague our country.
The treatment of Congresswoman Omar by Democratic leadership emboldens the hateful and racist threats against her. Congresswoman Omar is on the receiving end of constant attacks, including threats of violence, yet the leadership of the Democratic party has remained silent in the face of these attacks. The extreme hate that Congresswoman Omar is being met with must be condemned across party lines, as it is in direct conflict with the values this country claims to uphold.
This backlash is confirmation that Congresswoman Omar’s words speak to the reality that criticism of Israel’s policies is consistently met with character assassination and smear campaigns. In particular, ADC notes the targeted campaigns against allied Black civil and human rights leaders who advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people. Just like civil rights advocates Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and Dr. Angela Davis, Congresswoman Omar is being targeted for exercising her constitutional right to free speech, that seemingly does not apply to Palestinian human rights advocacy.
We commend her courage to question foreign support given to special interest groups that work to perpetuate policies that violate international law. We expect all members of Congress to question the U.S.’s relationship with a country that commits human rights violations using U.S. funding. Congress must question AIPAC’s substantial influence on U.S. policies that shield Israel from culpability. Just like any other special interest group AIPAC is open to criticism, and doing so must not be swift attempts to silence and smear those who question the entity.
For decades AIPAC has operated with impunity in the U.S. and the time is now to examine the role the organization plays in furthering and enabling human rights violations by the State of Israel. We hold all members of Congress accountable for the lack of adequate questioning and vetting of one of the most influential special interest groups in the U.S. for decades.
We commend Congresswoman Omar and other members of Congress that stand up for the values that this country claims to uphold, justice and dignity for all. Thank you for taking a principled position in defense of human rights and justice. ADC is proud to stand with you.