US Republican lawmakers claim criticism of Israeli annexation is antisemitic

A Palestinian woman confronts Israeli security forces during a protest in Jerusalem (AFP)

Ali Harb

Middle East Eye  /  July 15, 2020

In letter to Mike Pompeo, 12 House members call for rejecting ‘blatant’ antisemitism in Democratic push against annexation.

A group of Republican legislators wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to endorse Israel’s looming annexation of parts of the West Bank, contending that criticism of the Israeli government’s plan is “antisemitic”.

Referring to the occupied West Bank by its Hebrew biblical name, Judea and Samaria, the letter portrays annexation as the fault of Palestinians, who the Republicans claim have rejected multiple peace offers by Israel.

It was signed by 12 House members, including Andy Biggs, chair of the influential House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultra-conservative and libertarian lawmakers.

The letter was dated 10 July, but it drew outrage among Palestinian rights advocates after it was published on Tuesday by Congressman Scott Perry, one of its signatories.

“America has no greater friend than Israel, and Israel has no greater friend than America. For 72 years, both of our nations have fought side by side in pursuit of justice and peace,” the letter reads.

“No state in the modern history of the world has done more to prepare a path for reconciliation and peace with their neighbours than the State of Israel.”

The legislators went on to urge Pompeo to reject Democratic efforts to thwart Israel’s annexation plan.

“You soon will receive a letter criticizing any potential annexation of the Judea and Samaria Area,” the statement reads.

“We urge you reject the blatant anti-Semitism that pervades that letter, and instead continue the ground-breaking work you, on behalf of the United States and President Trump, have done to further peace and justice for the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

The Republican lawmakers appeared to be referring to a letter sent by progressive Democrats to Pompeo late last month, which threatened to impose conditions on US aid to Israel if it proceeds with its annexation plans.

[…]

Ali Harb is a writer based in Washington, DC; he reports on US foreign policy, Arab-American issues, civil rights and politics