California Democrats push legislation linking Israeli gov’t to Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Mourners gather outside Rodef Shalom Congregation during the funeral services for brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. The brothers were killed in the mass shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue.
11 Jewish worshipers were killed by a white supremacist gunman at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh
As California prepares for its democratic party convention, at least a dozen of the state’s democratic lawmakers have filed draft resolutions presenting the deadly shooting in Pittsburgh last October as the partial responsibility of the Israeli government.
According to Fox News, the latest resolution characterizes the attack on a Jewish house of worship as “the culmination of an alarming re-emergence of virulent antisemitism that is a core element of historical and currently resurgent white supremacism in the United States and around the world.”
It adds the “Israeli government, along with some of its U.S. backers welcomed support from Christian fundamentalist and ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted antisemitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia.”
David Mandel, a state Assemblyman from northern California who reportedly holds both US and Israeli citizenship, was the original author.
“The Israeli government and its supporters here seem to be embracing the right-wing and not caring what they say about anything else — Islamophobia, dog whistles for anti-Semitism,” Mandel told Fox. “That, I think, does indirectly lead to some of the violence.”
The San Francisco convention will feature various other legislative proposals highly critical of the Israeli government and President Donald Trump’s support for it. The expected proposals include rolling back Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights and reprimanding Israel for its policy toward Palestinian protesters on the Gaza Strip border (without mention of Hamas’ role in the violence).
According to Mandel, his resolution goes against “all efforts to stigmatize and suppress support for Palestinian human rights by falsely conflating it with antisemitism.”
Mandel is likely referring to recent controversy surrounding freshman Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who has been criticized for invoking anti-Semitic tropes in a number of statements made against Israel and Washington’s support for it.
In response to the draft resolutions, the Jewish Democratic Council of America voiced “deep concern.”
“We urge the California Democratic Party not to fall into the trap of letting Republicans divide us on Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism,” the council’s executive director, Halie Soifer, said in a statement. “Nearly all extremist violence in the United States, including attacks on Jews and Muslims, have come from right-wing extremists.”
“While Republicans continue to attempt to turn Israel into a partisan wedge issue, the Democratic Party remains staunchly pro-Israel. The Democratic Platform adopted in 2016 affirms that ‘we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement,'” she added.