Cori Bush
Cori BushReuters

Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, the progressive freshman Democratic congresswoman who has made many statements critical of Israel, is refusing to participate in an interview with the St. Louis Jewish Light, the leading Jewish newspaper in the city, according to its editors.

In a May 12 editorial, the paper’s editors said they have been ignored by the congresswoman’s staff in their efforts to interview Bush about her views on Israel and other topics. The lawmaker’s staff last communicated with the biweekly in an April 20 email.

Bush’s response to their interview requests “should trouble our readers,” the unsigned editorial said. The editorial did not clarify how long the Jewish Light had been trying to speak to Bush.

Bush, who was elected last year, is among the few House members who have expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting organizations that do business in Israel. Her campaign website deleted a page supporting BDS during the 2020 campaign after her primary opponent challenged her on the issue.

The Jewish Light said its goal is to clarify Bush’s views on the topic, as well as her social media posts comparing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

“What of Bush’s concern for her St. Louis Jewish constituents, who may see her linking Black people’s struggle in the United States with Palestinians’ struggle in the Middle East as an unfair conflation of two separate, complex issues?” the editorial wrote. “Or her concern for Israelis?”

Most recently, Bush has tweeted about the ongoing violence in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, writing May 18 that the Israeli army is committing “an outright massacre … that we must immediately stop funding.” She also echoed New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s description of Israel as an “apartheid state.” Bush is a member of “The Squad,” six progressive Democrats including Ocasio-Cortez as well as two others who back BDS, Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

“As someone who has been brutalized by police, I continue to stand in strong solidarity with Palestinians rising up against military, police, and state violence,” Bush wrote on May 11.

In its editorial, written before Bush’s most recent tweets, the Jewish Light pointed out that Bush’s staff has separately “engaged” with the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, and that her local Jewish supporters have also declined interview requests.

Jewish Light editors declined to comment to JTA on the editorial, saying they preferred to let the piece speak for itself.

A Bush spokesperson did not address the Jewish Light’s editorial directly, but said the congresswoman “work(s) in close partnership with members of St. Louis’s diverse Jewish community and with local and national Jewish groups.”