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Rep. Betty McCollum has become one of the strongest critics of Israeli policy in Congress

Rep. Betty McCollum
MinnPost photo by Lorie Shaull
Rep. Betty McCollum has said that she is pro-Israel and supports Israel as a key U.S. ally. But she is different from other members of Congress in her consistent, vocal criticism of Israeli human rights abuses.

Israel’s staunchest critic in Congress is from Minnesota. She has spent years talking about putting an end to human rights abuses around the world, including looking at human rights violations in Israel.

It’s not Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been the target of criticism for her comments on Israel. It’s her colleague: Rep. Betty McCollum.

This year, McCollum, who represents Minnesota’s Fourth District, introduced the second iteration of a bill that would prohibit the use of U.S. military funding by Israel to detain Palestinian children: the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act or H.R. 2407.

Like most members, McCollum has said that she is pro-Israel and supports Israel as a key U.S. ally. But she is different from other members of Congress in her consistent, vocal criticism of Israeli human rights abuses — and for taking legislative action to try to address them.

Detaining children

Since 2000, Israeli security forces have detained more than 10,000 Palestinian children. The U.S. State Department has documented numerous instances of human rights abuses against Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons since at least 2013.

McCollum’s bill, citing the State Department’s reports, says that the 2016 report noted “significant increase in detentions of minors” and also “highlighted the renewed use of ‘administrative detention’ against Palestinians, including children, a practice in which a detainee may be held indefinitely, without charge or trial, by the order of a military commander or other government official.” Organizations like The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have all come to similar conclusions.

McCollum’s chief of staff, Bill Harper, said the reason for the bill is simple to articulate: “Human rights violations are being committed by the government of Israel. That’s why. Period.”

As a whole, the U.S. government currently provides Israel with $3.8 billion annually in military aid. McCollum’s bill doesn’t cut off that funding. Instead, it aims to cordon off money from being used to detain Palestinian children.

“Part of our foreign policy philosophy is the success and well-being of a nation is dictated in part how children are being treated,” said Harper. “So when this issue came forward, where we view this as a clear violation of human rights and the human rights of children, that’s the impetus of this for her.”

That emphasis has won the endorsement of at least 26 human-rights focused groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace.

“Palestinian children, like all children, should never be dragged from their homes in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, denied contact with their families, and held in military detention where they often are mistreated and abused,” said Beth Miller, government affairs manager at Jewish Voice for Peace. “Our tax dollars should not go toward funding this systemic abuse. By introducing H.R. 2407, Congresswoman McCollum is helping build conditions for justice and equality.”

But while McCollum’s bill may be popular with advocates, it’s less so with her colleagues in Congress. It has just 21 cosponsors in the House.

2006 and beyond

Being in a small minority in Congress criticizing Israeli policy is a familiar position for McCollum.

She was one of only 37 members of Congress who voted against the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, which imposed harsh sanctions on Palestine and designated the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority as a “terrorist sanctuary.” As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she joined one colleague in opposing the bill moving out of committee. And she made clear her reasoning then, saying the bill “would place so many restraints on aid to the Palestinian people, and so many restrictions on the administration’s ability to deal with the Palestinians, that even the State Department has opposed it.”

That same year, when a volunteer for AIPAC lobbied McCollum, McCollum says that they told her office “support for terrorists” would not be tolerated, something she took extreme offense to (the volunteer disputed McCollum’s version of events).

“During my nineteen years serving in elected office, including the past five years as a Member of Congress, never has my name and reputation been maligned or smeared as it was last week by a representative of AIPAC,” McCollum wrote in the New York Review of Books in 2006, asking for an apology from the organization. She never received one publicly.

More recently, McCollum was also one of only 17 “no” votes against Rep. Bradley Schneider of Illinois’ resolution opposing the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), a movement that aims to apply political pressure on Israel through tactics like boycotting Israeli products.

Her understanding of the treatment of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities did not come out of nowhere. She released the first iteration of the bill in 2017, but prior to that, in 2015 she led a letter sent with 18 other colleagues to then-Secretary of State John Kerry about the mistreatment of Palestinian children.

“There could be no more clear demonstration of American commitment to Israel than the more than $3 billion of U.S. taxpayer funds which are invested annually to ensure the security of the Israeli people,” they wrote. “However, respecting and defending the human rights of children, regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion, or nationally, is a fundamental American value, as well as a priority for all Americans, that cannot be ignored.”

Israel and antisemitism

Despite her consistent criticism of Israeli policy, McCollum has received little scrutiny compared to Omar, whose brief statements on Israel often dominate the news cycle for weeks at a time.

At least some of Omar’s scrutiny comes from when she described her understanding of Israeli influence on American politics as “all about the benjamins.” The statement was condemned by a variety of Jewish groups as being rooted in an antisemitic stereotype. Omar apologized for the post.

Apologies nothwithstanding, Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have taken to frequently calling Omar “antisemitic.” In April, several House Republicans drafted a resolution explicitly to condemn Omar’s comments. To draw attention to the resolution, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, a cosponsor, hosted a press conference in which a speaker described Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan (the first and only two Muslim women in Congress) as “Jihadist congresswomen.”

The resolution itself critiqued Omar for saying, among other things, “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews.” McCollum and progressive Jewish organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace have also used the word “apartheid” in reference to the situation in Israel.

“In her nearly two decades in Congress, Rep. McCollum has been a vocal and frequent critic of Israel’s policies and its treatment of Palestinians and, while she has garnered critique among the pro-Israel Jewish right, she has drawn nowhere near the ire that Rep. Omar has in her short time in Congress,” said Libi Baehr, who handles communications for the Minneapolis/St.Paul chapter of IfNotNow, a national progressive Jewish organization that opposes the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“These disparate responses have far less to do with actually combatting antisemitism than they do with Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia. Omar faces a higher degree of scrutiny, and attack, because she is a black, immigrant, Muslim woman.”

Similar accusations were leveled at her predecessor, Keith Ellison, who is also black and Muslim.

For state Sen. Sandy Pappas, a DFLer who lives in McCollum’s district, the reason Omar has received so much scrutiny compared to McCollum lies somewhere in between their language and their identities.

“[Omar] hasn’t said anything that Rep. McCollum hasn’t said. I think it’s more because she’s new, because she’s a Muslim, because she’s a woman of color. And newbies are supposed to be quiet and mind their elders,” said Pappas, who is Jewish. “I think she could be a little more cautious in her statements, but that’s not her. She speaks truth to power.”

Pappas also pushed back against the notion that any criticism of Israel was inherently antisemitic.

“Israelis are not monolithic,” said Pappas. “American Jews are not monolithic either in how we view the Middle East. I feel kind of frustrated that anytime anyone is critical of Israel that they’re put in that antisemitic box.”

Pappas, who has family in Israel and travels there often, said that McCollum has been a steadfast advocate for peace in the region.

“I support her legislation. I think just as we need to be concerned about how our country is treating migrant children at the border, that the Israeli government needs to be responsible for how they’re treating Palestinian children. So I really see a parallel there.”

“I think it’s perfectly fine for people and Jews ⁠— Jewish legislators ⁠— to criticize the Israeli government when it’s appropriate.”

The bill is a vehicle

The prospects for McCollum’s bill in Congress are unclear. The first time she introduced the bill, in 2017, it had 30 cosponsors. This time, it has only 21.

Rep. Seth Moulton, who is now running for president, withdrew his support in a lengthy statement that acknowledges the detention of Palestinian children but argues that the new bill is too expansive in its enforcement mechanism. Rep. Rosa De-Lauro of Connecticut withdrew from the bill earlier last month after saying her staff accidentally co-sponsored it.

But the bill also has some new cosponsors, like Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Chuy Garcia of Illinois, and Omar.

Harper, McCollum’s chief of staff, said that even if Congress doesn’t take up a vote on the bill, at the very least it generates conversation and shows where members are on the issue.

“We have an ally. A country in which we provide $3.8 billion in U.S. aid. We have a country that within the borders of Israel is a democracy. That shares many of our values. And yet nearly 3 million people live under military occupation,” he said. “And Israel’s military, the mightiest military in the region, is arresting children in the middle of the night. Detaining them, interrogating them, abusing them, some would say torturing. And inflicting what we characterize as systemic trauma. And this has gone on for 20 years at least.”

“The bill is a vehicle to discuss this issue. The bill is a vehicle to elevate and put this issue of the treatment of children on the table.”

Comments (69)

  1. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 08/09/2019 - 11:09 am.

    I’ve often wondered why those on the wrong, aka repubs, claim it anti-semitic to criticize Israel? It is even worse when a Muslim lady does so, but why? I’m a white male Christian who has always believed in Israels right to exist, but not in everything they do and since Netanyahu, I’ve become more critical of them and especially him.
    Disappointing that when trump said there were good people on both sides when referring to the white supremists with tiki torches shouting “Jews will not replace us” that it got little attention from the wrong, aka repub…but if a Muslim does it…wow. Is there anything but hypocrisy coming from the wrong, aka repubs?

    • Submitted by B. Dahl on 08/09/2019 - 12:23 pm.

      I do think that when you quote Trumps “fine people on both sides” comment all need to review the whole conversation and understand that
      trump was supporting the rights of protesters concerned about the removal of Robert E Lee’s statue. He was very critical of the radical right and left involved in this.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 12:58 pm.

        No that’s completely false.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/12/2019 - 09:04 am.

        “Fine people” don’t continue marching when the people they are marching with start chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

        “Fine people” don’t travel to march in rallies organized by white supremacist groups.

        “Fine people” don’t march to protest the removal of monuments to treason in defense of slavery.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/12/2019 - 10:27 am.

        As Colonel Potter would say, “Horse Hockey!”

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/09/2019 - 12:43 pm.

      It’s also somewhat amusing that R critics of Omar’s phrasing give a pass to Trump, who says stuff like “I like my money counted by guys who wear yarmulkes.” That sure seems more blatantly stereotypical than Omar’s line.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 08/09/2019 - 04:26 pm.

      In all fairness, Omar used tropes which complicated the issue. I agree some then morphed the issue into something she probably did not mean, but the tropes were still an issue. It does seem that some countries get a free pass on human right violations.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2019 - 10:05 am.

        I think “tropes” were used to attack Omar. I never saw anything but common sense observations and detractors trying to mischaracterize those observations as “tropes”. I think true fairness requires we recognize that fact. Why is it a “trope” when Omar says it, but not a “trope” when Ben Greenwald says it?

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 11:27 am.

    The difference between McCollum and Omar is that McCollum knows how to criticize Israeli policy without wading into anti-semitism. Omar does not.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 11:40 am.

      Then why does she accept Omar as a co-sponsor?
      “But the bill also has some new cosponsors, like Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Chuy Garcia of Illinois, and Omar.”

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 12:20 pm.

        Why she accepts Omar as a co-sponsor is a non-sequitur to the point I was making, which, again, is that McCollum knows how to criticize Israel without being anti-semitic, while Omar does not.

        But as to your question, maybe she felt Omar’s apologies were sufficient. Maybe she just needed as much support as possible for her unpopular legislation. Who knows.

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 12:44 pm.

          Even Betty McCollum was called a terrorist supporter by the usual suspects. The Good Ole’ Boy faction of the Democratic have no problem allying with organizations like AIPAC whose member hurl such invective. Its only Donald Trump whose the villian !

          For instance they’d be all batty if Trump curtailed free speech. But nary a peep when 1% Amy Klobuchar signs onto legislation that curtails free speech.

          • Submitted by John Evans on 08/09/2019 - 01:37 pm.

            What bill was that?

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 01:48 pm.

            Mostly I have no idea what your comment is getting at. But as between McCollum and Omar, McCollum has never had to issue a statement like this:

            “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar said. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

            • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 02:11 pm.

              Betty McCollum was accused of being a terrorist supporter by one Amy Rotenberg of AIPAC, After which she refused to allow AIPAC to visit with here. Thats the same and familiar crowd that lead the charge of accusing Omar of anti-semitism. And you wish to give credence to such persons and organizations.


              Ilhan Omar is a politician, she did not back down on the political interference claim (if you ever post the entire statement). So what was she apologizing about ?

              • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 02:20 pm.

                She was apologizing for her anti-semitic statements. If she was simply criticizing Israel, like McCollum does, there would have been no need to apologize.

                • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 03:01 pm.


                  “The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan asked the Minnesota Democrat Omar why she apologized and whether it was for a badly worded tweet or for being anti-Semitic wittingly or unwittingly.

                  “Absolutely not,” Omar replied. “I apologized for the way that my words made people feel.””

        • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/09/2019 - 01:03 pm.

          There’s a valid question over whether Omar’s comment was even anti-semitic. She accused congresspeople of being swayed by political donations. That seems like a valid criticism. Why does that criticism turn into anti-semitism when the donors are of a particular faith and/or promoting a particular policy? I think the reaction was a deliberate misinterpretation of her words & intended to distract from her critism & put the focus on Omar instead.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 01:35 pm.

            Omar has made numerous anti-semitic comments, some more offensive than others. The idea that there is a valid question about this just demonstrates how pervasive anti-semitism is on the left. The pathetic defenses of her comments – for which Omar has apologized – reminds me of Trump supporters arguing that his statements about Mexicans aren’t racist.

            • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 01:47 pm.

              Here we go again. The “Progressive Except for Palestine” crowd won’t acknowledge that their support for Apartheid in Israel is just odious as Trumps treatment of immigrants. Name a single statement by Omar that is anti-semitic ? Name one.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 09:15 pm.

                By equating Israeli policy (with which I as a Jew disagree) with apartheid you are propagating a classic antisemitic trope.

                • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/10/2019 - 09:51 am.

                  By trotting out your “anti-semitism” you’re engaging in the classic racist reaction used by organizations such as AIPAC to shut down any discussion. Cause like I’ve said for all the “morality” claimed by Democrats against Trump their Israel policy is no different than his immigrant treatment. Just an inconvenient fact that I point out.

                  You’ll have to call Israeli newspapers like Haaretz, Nelson Mandela, John Kerry , Bishop Tutu and thousands of other people anti-Semitic for starters. That dog won’t hunt anymore.

                  • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/11/2019 - 11:57 am.

                    Nelson Mandela, John Kerry , Bishop Tutu aren’t Israeli newspapers.
                    And the fact that a news source prints an article that contains antisemitic material doesn’t make the source itself antisemitic.

                    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/11/2019 - 05:11 pm.

                      “Nelson Mandela, John Kerry , Bishop Tutu aren’t Israeli newspapers” – Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper that openly and regularly calls out Israeli apartheid. There are plenty of Jewish groups in America and Israel that call it out also. What is your label for them. Or is your antisemitic label only for minorities who call it out.

                      “And the fact that a news source prints an article that contains antisemitic material doesn’t make the source itself antisemitic.” – Your definition of antisemitsm is rather convenient and fake i.e. Anyone who questions Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Haaretz and persons like Peter Beinart regularly print OpEds about apartheid. Thats not them republishing a news article.

                      Face it you want to avoid discussion of Israeli apartheid so you throw out the anti-semitism canard. Just like AIPAC.

          • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 08/09/2019 - 03:43 pm.

            Rep. Omar didn’t even accuse “congresspeople” of being swayed by donations. Glenn Greenwald posed the rhetorical question of why House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy so quickly took up the cudgel against her for her criticisms of Israeli policy. She responded (though in more colloquial terms) that he was doing so because he feared losing AIPAC financial support. This is a totally noncontroversial reference to the way lobbying power is exercised in Washington (“we’ll donate to you, or to your opponent – you decide”). Further, it’s hard to see how the concern of a presumably Irish Catholic legislator about the loss of a source of cash for his campaign implicates anti-semitic “tropes” in any way.

            From the start, from journalistic laziness and for cynical aims, her comment was expanded at every turn until it became some grand reference to Jews being motivated only by money. Indeed, in Rorschach style, the willingness to take Omar’s tweet to be so much broader than it was, and so to invoke “tropes,” says more about those who hear it that way, than about Omar.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 12:41 pm.

      Name the part of Omar’s statement that is supposedly anti-semitic. Do you wish to trot out the canard that somehow criticizing AIPAC is anti-semitic ?
      The truth of the matter is for all the criticism of Donald Trump and his actions on immigration , border etc there are plenty of Democrats who support or look the other way the very same policy when it comes to Israels treatment of Palestinians

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 01:37 pm.

        At a minimum, the statements for which Omar has apologized.

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 01:50 pm.

          Criticizing AIPAC and pointing out paid for politicians is anti-semitic ? Really ?

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/10/2019 - 07:19 pm.

            When you single out Jewish groups and ignore other lobbying organizations doing the same thing.

            • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/11/2019 - 08:15 am.

              Read the heading of the article. Its about Israel and Palestinians. Should i be complaining about the NRA here ? First its the deflection with the usual anti-semitism claim. Then its why not other lobbying group. Then it will be Nigeria, Namibia, Saudi Arabia.

              If your’e so confident that Israel doesn’t treat Palestinians in apartheid like conditions, state your case. Why use racist deflections that organizations like AIPAC have perfected. Do minorities have no right to question American foreign policies ? Should we have to wait in back of the line until you determine its ok to ask such questions ?

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/11/2019 - 12:01 pm.

                How many blacks were killed under apartheid? How many Palestinians by Israeli’s?
                How many white South Africans were killed by blacks? How many Israelis by Palestinians?
                How many black South Africans (not citizens of Bantustans) voted under apartheid?
                How many Arab citizens of Israel vote?
                All inequalities are not equal.
                And BTW — I’m a member of JPac, not AIPAC.

                • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/11/2019 - 05:04 pm.

                  How many blacks were killed under apartheid? How many Palestinians by Israeli’s – Plenty in both conflicts on either side. So what’s your point ?

                  How many white South Africans were killed by blacks? How many Israelis by Palestinians – Did not the ANC have brigades that attacked whites. But the supposed “existential” threat was gone when apartheid ended. How so ? The “existential” threat excuse is a farce. You don’t build housing deep in the settlements of West Bank and claim “existential” threats. It rather shows a devotion to a fanatic claim on another persons land that “Progressive Except Palestinian” Democrats have aided and enabled

                  How many black South Africans (not citizens of Bantustans) voted under apartheid? – A convenient minority of coloreds were granted citizenship. A number kept convenient enough as not to change the resultant demographic profile and political end result. Sound familiar ?

                  How many Arab citizens of Israel vote? – How many Arabs/Palestinians under Israeli control vote. Why don’t you answer that ? What do you call a system where a person on one side of the street is a full citizen and the other on the other a stateless citizen with no rights ? Alternative Living ?

                  All inequalities are not equal – Therefore according to you unless they’re exactly equal they’re not the same. That’s a very convenient argument. Why not focus on the similarities that extist i.e People stripped of their lands and rights ? Or would that be too inconvenient.

                  And BTW — I’m a member of JPac, not AIPAC. – Your unwilingess to acknowledge facts makes such a distinction irrelevant.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/11/2019 - 12:02 pm.

                And your last statement is the usual ad hominem argument.

                • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/11/2019 - 05:06 pm.

                  Nope. I call out your deflection from Israeli treatment of Palestinians and endless whataboutisms. Face the facts.

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/09/2019 - 01:54 pm.

          The leading criticism against Omar came from Steny Hoyer. He is today in Israel leading a delegation of 40 Democrats. He stated today that Benjamin Netanyahu is not a racist.

          Why validate claims of anti-semitism from such people who openly lie and pander to foreign govts just like what Democrats have accused of Trump for the past two years. Isn’t that the height of hypocrisy ?

        • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/09/2019 - 02:46 pm.

          Her apology for the phrasing that implied some American Jews might have split allegiance with Israel was appropriate. Given that she’s apologized, some would argue she should be forgiven. Yes?

          The notion that the phrase “It’s all about the Benjamins” somehow refers to negative stereotypes about jews and money is laughable.

    • Submitted by Rod Kuehn on 08/09/2019 - 05:24 pm.

      Omar criticized AIPAC for wielding too much power over our legislators via campaign donations. AIPAC tried to deflect her charges by saying they don’t make significant contributions. However, The Nation reported that, while they didn’t directly make contributions, members of their Congressional Club did collect and distribute campaign cash through PACs and other techniques. The Wall Street Journal reported that they collected as much as $100 million / year to influence American policy.

      Since AIPAC prides itself on being a single-issue lobby, it makes no difference to them which candidate they support. The legislator most in their service gets the cash. If not, their opponent does. A double threat. Considering how much time our legislators spend garnering campaign cash, this can be a serious threat.

      Indeed, AIPAC is widely considered one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington D. C.

      Omar bent over backwards to be respectful to Jews who have suffered from money stereotypes. She did not back away from the charge and it was exactly on-point and definitely not anti-Semitic.

  3. Submitted by Barbara Dennis on 08/09/2019 - 12:02 pm.

    Thanks to my representative Betty McCollum for supporting the Palestinians. There is too little support for them primarily because of the number of legislators so well funded by the pro-Israeli lobbyists.

  4. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 08/09/2019 - 12:36 pm.

    I support McCollum, Omar and the Palestinians, who have been subjected to horrors beyond belief at the hands of the Israelis and under the Netanyahu regime. And all paid for by the US of A. There has been so much wrong there it would take a book to address it all fully….. And Bebe and his wife are as corrupt, power hungry and criminal as the Trumps, and have faced charges in their country as a result. Just as the DEMs are trying to do with the Trumps here in the USA but always against the wall of protection the complicit REPs throw up. So let us all have much more objectivity overall, and show far more empathy and compassion for the real victims here: the Palestinians. Instead of so many falling into lockstep with the evil forces trying to overtake the world currently:(

  5. Submitted by John Evans on 08/09/2019 - 01:52 pm.

    McCollum doesn’t think U.S. aid to Israel should be used for the detention of children. Hmm… and this makes her “Israel’s staunches critic in Congress.” It seems to me that on balance, her criticism of Israel is pretty mild.

    The idea that our money should not be used by a recipient government for jailing children shouldn’t be all that controversial. If our ally wants to abuse children, I hope they’ll at least do it with their own money, not with ours!

  6. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 08/09/2019 - 06:08 pm.

    The same people who think that separating refugee children from their parents in the US obviously are going to support the same thing in Israel.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/10/2019 - 08:46 am.

    The attacks on Omar stem from racism, she hasn’t said anything antisemitic and the “controversies” around her have been manufactured. The fact that American politics is controlled by campaign contributions and that APAC is one of the most influential lobbies in the country is undeniable. There’s nothing antisemitic about these observations.

    As Pappas said:

    ““[Omar] hasn’t said anything that Rep. McCollum hasn’t said. I think it’s more because she’s new, because she’s a Muslim, because she’s a woman of color. And newbies are supposed to be quiet and mind their elders,” said Pappas, who is Jewish. “I think she could be a little more cautious in her statements, but that’s not her. She speaks truth to power.”

    I agree with Pappas. The difference between Omar and McCollum is obvious, and it’s not the color of their eyes.

    I can’t speak for Omar but I didn’t see her apology as any kind of concession or admission to having been antisemitic, THAT’S not what the apology was. In her own words she apologized because her words had hurt people, right or wrong, she regretted having said something that hurt people.

    Aside from racism we also see “centrist” and “moderate” Democrats using whatever pretexts they can find to attack and discredit progressives and/or liberals. The attacks on Sanders’s and Warren in the last debate reveal how hostile these Democrats actually are to the very idea of liberalism or progressive politics. I found it disgusting to see media and Democrats jump on the Omar attack bandwagon with so much enthusiasm despite the non-controversial nature of her comments. Who needs Republicans when you have moderate and “centrist” Democrats?

  8. Submitted by Wes Davey on 08/10/2019 - 08:48 am.

    Not discussed here is a primary purpose of foreign military financing, which is to provide grants for the acquisition of U.S. defense equipment. Put another way, the $3.8 billion grant given to Israel, or military aid to any country, is an indirect way of funneling more money to our defense industries.

    Further, Israel is not some third-world country desperately needing financial aid, their economy is booming. Despite not needing our financial aid, we give it to them anyway and add that amount to our national debt. A trifling amount in the scheme of things, but you know…a billion here, a billion there, and it soon adds up to real money.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/10/2019 - 08:51 am.

    It’s nice to finally see this article on Minnpost, although we could have used it months ago. And it’s nice to see that Minnpost appears to have decided that every criticism of Omar, not matter how contrived, is no longer worthy of constant and multiple coverage.

  10. Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/10/2019 - 03:45 pm.

    In other words Ms Omar was being more honest than “Progressive Except Palestine Democrats” who make up excuses and invective to support a policy in Israel that is far more odious than Trumps policy with immigrants.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/10/2019 - 07:23 pm.

      The problem is that Latin Americans have not pledged to drive the United States into the sea. Trump is not dealing with an existential threat.

      • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/10/2019 - 09:49 pm.

        So your excuse for an apartheid enterprise with an occupation that goes far deep into the West Bank is because some Palestinians have threatened to drive Israel into the sea. Really ?

        How does never ending settlements on Palestinian lands counter that threat. Is there some fantabulous military theory that i’m missing ? Are you saying the Israeli military is so week to protect itself from Palestinians ? Really ?

        Also, during the civil rights movement there were radical groups who said nasty things about whites. That should’ve been enough to deny people their rights. Correct ?

        Due you really want us to believe that this ? And do you really want to pretend that there was no concept of Judea and Sameria.

        I’ll repeat it again. “Progressive Except Palestinian Democrats” have come up with excuses to justify Israeli apartheid no better than Trumps rhetroric on the border.

      • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/10/2019 - 09:54 pm.

        Peter Beinart – Joe Biden’s Moral Cowardice On Israel

        “So if Biden really wants to turn the authoritarian tide among American allies, Israel — 19% of whose military budget is funded by American taxpayers — would be a natural place to start.

        He could, for instance, endorse Representative Betty McCollum’s bill to prohibit US aid from being used for the detention of Palestinian children, who in the West Bank are often seized in the middle of the night, blindfolded and bound, and then held and interrogated for days without their parents or a lawyer present before being sent to military courts that lack even the semblance of due process.

        These are the kinds of policies that Biden avoids having to consider by omitting Israel from his list of America’s authoritarian friends. If you deny reality, you don’t have to try to change it.

        When Biden did mention Israel later in his speech, he again exemplified the denialism that still dominates much Democratic Party thinking. ”

        And that last statement about denialism is spot on to what i’ve been saying “Progressive Except Palestinian” Democrats who believe somehow they occupy some higher moral ground than Trump.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/11/2019 - 07:44 am.

        Israel hasn’t faced an existential threat since 1973, and the Palestinians have posed such a threat.

        Part of Israel’s problem is that the narrative of a vulnerable little country surrounded by enemies bent on it’s destruction has collapsed. Israel is clearly established as the most powerful country in the region, many of the former enemies have recognized it’s legitimacy, and Palestinian struggle for sovereignty has never threatened Israel’s existence, regardless of rhetoric. The only real threat Israel could face would be a Iran with Nuclear weapons or an nuclear arms race in the region that could trigger a nuclear exchange. Trump and Bolton seem to relish that scenario by the way.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/11/2019 - 07:45 am.

          Sorry, mean to say the Palestinians have “never” posed an existential threat.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/11/2019 - 04:28 pm.

          And then there are the Russians and their Syrian puppets.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2019 - 08:12 am.

            There’s no denying a history virulent and violent Russian/Soviet antisemitism, but their interest in Syria has always been about having a toe-hold of influence in the region, not annihilating Israel. Syria was neutralized decades ago as any kind of serious threat, the IDF didn’t just defeat Syrian forces, they humiliated them. Any time Syria builds some kind of nuclear program Israel bombs it with impunity.

        • Submitted by Richard Steuland on 08/12/2019 - 11:06 am.

          The Pro Israel lobby is a strong and formidable foe of Democratic values of fair play and inclusion. The strong arm tactics used to influence politicians towards getting anything Israel wants from the American taxpayer is immoral. It does not represent open and honest dialog. I applaud any politician who honestly voices concern for fair play. Money talks and the Israeli lobby knows and uses this fact well. Campaign finance reform would stop the intrusion by special interests. Zionists are loosing their grip on power despite a heavy proIsrael media bias. This is a good thing. It’s not in Israels interest to genocide the Palestinians. After all, we reap what we sow.

  11. Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/10/2019 - 10:26 pm.

    Who Paid for the 40 Democrats to visit Israel.

    AIPAC, isn’t allowed to sponsor the trip cause it spent nearly 3/4 of a million dollar to lobby congress. Therefore another organization call AIEF sponsored the trip so that Democrats can visit with “not a racist” Netanyahu. All good so far. Except that AIPAC pays millions of dollars in salaries etc to AIEF.

    But wait. Trump is evil. He’s selling out to the Russians with his corruption!!!

  12. Submitted by Raj Maddali on 08/11/2019 - 06:12 pm.

    “Asked if he would also instruct the army to shoot and kill Palestinian children who breach the border fence, Bennett said, “They are not children — they are terrorists. We are fooling ourselves. I see the photos.””

    Thats Naftali Bennett who was a minister in the Israeli Cabinet of “not a racist” Netanyahu. Do the “Progressive Except Palestine” Democrats still want to pretend its not apartheid and somehow Trump is worse ? Really ?

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2019 - 09:22 am.

    I actually think it’s pretty clear at this point that the “moderate/centrists” attempt to classify Omar as an anti-Semite has failed. The fact that they would even attempt such an assault in the first place simply reveals the potentially toxic and divisive nature of so-call “moderate/centrism”.

    So-called “moderates” claim to be the ones looking for common ground but in fact their mentality and politics are more exclusionary than the “extremes” they pretend to battle.

    Omar’s “tropes” have been reduced to careless speech, but the demand for Omar’s special caution looks like discrimination in and of itself. The reason so much additional caution is expected of Omar than McCollum stems from the fact that Omar isn’t a white woman.

    From Biden to Omar it’s clear that “moderate” Democrats need to get their house in order when it comes to confronting racism and racial stereotypes. One would hope that they would use an article like this as a starting point for such an endeavor, rather than an excuse for renewed attacks on Democrats of color.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 08/12/2019 - 06:46 pm.

      PU not sure where you get ““moderate/centrists” attempt to classify Omar as an anti-Semite has failed” don’t think anyone that I know self included attempted to classify her as anti-Semitic to begin with! She stated her thinking and so be it, seemed reasonable to folks like me. .

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/13/2019 - 09:41 am.

        Dennis, the conversation was public and documented, you can deny it now if you want but those denials won’t alter the fact. If you didn’t see anyone accusing Omar of antisemitism you must not have been paying attention at the time. It’s ridiculous to deny that her fiercest detractors within her own party came from the ranks of the “centrist/moderates”.

        Omar NEVER acknowledged any antisemitism on her part. She apologized for making statements that some people found hurtful regardless of her intent. This speaks to her compassion and humanity and integrity, but it can in no way confirm any antisemitism.

        At any rate, given her continued popularity and support we can easily conclude that the attempt to paint Omar as a careless anti-Semite failed to take hold. It turns out that many if not most of us never saw any antisemitism in her statements to begin with. “Tropes” turned out to be mundane observations about money in politics and lobbyists.

        I applaud McCollum and her perspective and criticisms of Israeli policy. We should ALL be able to consider these criticisms and perspectives without being accused antisemitism.

  14. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 08/13/2019 - 12:21 pm.

    And how is it again that you know which folks are “from the ranks of the “centrist/moderates””?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/13/2019 - 01:03 pm.


      If you want to know the “secret” to identifying “centrist/moderate” Democrats put a five dollar bill inside a signed first edition copy of: “Cat’s Cradle” and send it to: “The Center for Shrewd Observations and Very Special Knowledge” PO box 546. Charlatan W. Virginia. 32210. Or… Take a look at Amy Klobuchar or Joe Biden.

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