The demonization of Israel in the halls of Congress - Opinion

As is often the case with Israel and Jews, there is a plethora of misinformation and demonization occurring, with US representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib leading the propaganda campaign.

US REPS. (from left) Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, four members of ‘the Squad,’ have made a name for themselves in their bashing of Israel over the last few years.  (photo credit: ERIN SCOTT/REUTERS)
US REPS. (from left) Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, four members of ‘the Squad,’ have made a name for themselves in their bashing of Israel over the last few years.
(photo credit: ERIN SCOTT/REUTERS)
As Israelis grapple with a traumatic week, it’s been inspiring to see displays of solidarity in New York, Los Angeles and numerous other cities.
Similarly, we’ve seen public governmental support for Israel from Austria, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and others. However, and as is always the case during wartime for Israel, there have been virulently antisemitic protests and bullying of Jews around the world, both online and in person. 
Social media in times of conflict is notoriously chaotic and inaccurate. Myths about Israel, or rather, modern-day blood libels, spread like wildfire across the networks. But while these myths used to remain in the Arab world or in extremist circles (not that that isn’t a problem in and of itself), today we have an additional dilemma in that extremist voices are regurgitating emotionally charged false information about Israel in the halls of US Congress. Extremism against Israel has been legitimized with representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush.
Over the last few years, “the Squad” has made a name for itself in its bashing of Israel, with Omar and Tlaib leading the propaganda campaign. From teary-eyed press conferences, to calling for conditioning of aid to Israel while hypocritically demanding aid to Palestinians be restored, Tlaib and Omar have brought extremism and division to the Democratic Party on an issue where there should be consensus.
The US-Israel relationship is strategic in that it benefits both sides. The aid given to Israel isn’t done as charity, and in fact it already has preconditions. The US-Israel aid package requires nearly all of it to be reinvested in the US economy, which ultimately amounts to 100,000 US jobs.
Additionally, the special relationship provides critical intelligence and technology that advances US security and interests around the world. Yet the attacks on this partnership by a small minority of the Democratic Party are growing more bold by the day, and if their claims weren’t completely based on propaganda and lies, it wouldn’t be so dangerous. 
Unfortunately, as is often the case with Israel and Jews, there is a plethora of misinformation and demonization occurring, which obscures the real issues and leads to exaggerated claims that ultimately result in a rise in antisemitism. For example, since the Gaza conflict began this month, the UK reported a 250% increase in antisemitic incidents. That is why criticism of Israel, particularly in war times, requires carefully worded language from allies that doesn’t lend credence to antisemites. 
Instead, Omar, Bush, Tlaib, Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez are consistently playing fast and loose with the truth and latching on to every single propaganda smear that exists about Israel. At a time when Israel is facing a barrage of rockets, each one a war crime, these members of Congress chose to bash Israel on the House floor in an appalling display of ignorance.
From labeling Israel “apartheid” to charging Israel with “ethnic cleansing” to accusing Israel of “murdering” children to stating Israeli airstrikes on terrorist weapon sites are “terrorism” – these members of Congress acted completely irresponsibly in their criticisms of Israel.
PERHAPS MOST inappropriately, these members of Congress all repeatedly compared the Palestinians’ situation to the struggle against police brutality in the US for blacks. Last week, Pressley stated, “Palestinians today are being told the same things as blacks in America, that there is no acceptable form of resistance.” This is an outrageous comparison that actually insults the black community in the US. Palestinians, for decades, have had internationally recognized terrorist organizations intimately involved with their leadership, carrying out barbarous acts of violence against civilians. The American black community is doing nothing of the sort.
The black community’s struggle has absolutely nothing to do with Palestinian nationalism or the aspirations for a Palestinian state. This is one of the most pernicious and ugly demonizations of Israel being propagated today and it must be exposed and called out for what it is: bigotry. 
This twisted perspective comes from a misguided view of Jews, which perceives them as “white” and thus “privileged” (despite being the leading target of hate crimes even in the US for over 20 years), and the Palestinians as “brown.” The irony of this is, of course, that Jews are not white and the majority of Israeli Jews, in fact, are brown. But facts don’t seem to be relevant to sentimentalists like Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Bush, Omar and Pressley. 
Israel does not have a history of slavery, nor a history of discriminatory laws that disenfranchise the Arab population. In fact quite the opposite. Israel’s basic laws demand freedom of religion and equality. Of course that does not mean Israel doesn’t deal with racism, as every nation does, but to compare this history to that of the US is to mislead and to lie, much like many of the other accusations lobbed at Israel by this bunch. Their conduct last week, at a time when Israel is facing the biggest violent onslaught in years, was completely unfit for members of Congress and each of them should be ashamed.
This is not about human rights; it’s about the selective outrage against Israel and the unfounded accusations made. The extremism of these representatives should have no place in the US Congress.
The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.