Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders in New HampshireReuters

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) condemned the most recent anti-Israel letter co-led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and signed by the members of the Squad in the House.

ZOA expressed outrage that the letter, written by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), demands sanctions against Israel, and calls for “determinations” regarding the legality of the IDF’s defensive use of US arms. They also slammed the letter for “obscenely defaming” Israeli counter-terrorism operations against terrorists who target civilians, and for misleadingly leaving out that Palestinian Arabs killed in Israeli raids were almost all terrorists and gunmen who fired at the IDF while they were attempting to arrest terrorists.

“Last week, a new effort was pushed by the anti-Israel squad, with Bowman in the driver’s seat. Along with Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Bowman mobilized colleagues to sign a scathing, one-sided letter to President Biden and Secretary Blinken calling on the administration ‘to undertake a shift in U.S. policy’ toward Israel,” ZOA said. “Their letter castigates Israel — and only Israel — for the lack of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It cites ‘the bloody reality in the occupied West Bank,’ yet makes no mention of the Palestinian Authority and its ‘pay-to-slay’ martyrs fund that rewards terrorists for killing Jews,” ZOA said.

“It chastises Israel for counter-terrorism operations in the West Bank, but fails to recognize that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians killed in recent raids were in fact terrorists planning attacks and Palestinian gunmen shooting at IDF troops trying to arrest those terrorists. It . . . pressures the administration to be far more hostile toward our ally.”

The advocacy organization also noted that Bowman’s letter makes use of the false claim that Israel is guilty of “systemic violence against Palestinians.”

“In fact, it is the Palestinian Authority that is perpetrating ‘systemic violence against Jews’ – by inciting and paying enormous financial rewards to terrorists to murder Jews,” ZOA pointed out.

“Just this week, Palestinian Authority television broadcasted a deranged ‘musical’ with gun-toting teenage Arab dancers, dancing to songs calling on Palestinian Arabs to become ‘martyrs’ by attacking Jews in every city and village in Israel with blood, stones, machine guns, grenades, daggers and guns,” they added.

According to ZOA, the sources cited in Bowman’s letter are all anti-Israel NGOs “specializing in defaming Israel with grotesque falsehoods,” including a front group for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department. It also makes use of out-of-context quotes from a Biden State Department report that relies on the same and similar defamation-spreading NGOs.

ZOA charged that one of Bowman’s main backers, the pro-BDS Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and the Squad “seem like an antisemitic gang whose members must constantly outdo one another in attacking the Jewish state. Bowman’s letter is a hateful example of this.”

“Congressman Jamaal Bowman is cementing his place among the members of Congress most hostile to Israel. . . Rep. Bowman has chosen to . . . align himself with the most caustic anti-Israel voices in Washington. Last year, Congressman Bowman removed his name from a bill to expand the Abraham Accords peace deals — this, after signing on as an early supporter. Three months later, he co-sponsored a resolution with Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Betty McCollum and Cori Bush commemorating the Palestinian ‘Nakba,’ a term that characterizes Israel’s founding on May 14, 1948 (the same day that the U.S. officially recognized the new state) as a ‘catastrophe,’” ZOA said.

ZOA described the most concerning aspect of the letter as its aim to disqualify Israel from receiving security aid from the US over false allegations of human rights abuses.

“While those accusations are unfounded in and of themselves, the suggestion that the Biden administration is negligent in its oversight of our aid has been formally debunked as recently as this month,” they said.

“Congressman Bowman is no longer merely an accessory to anti-Israel rhetoric in Washington. He is now leading the effort to erode support for Israel on Capitol Hill and within the Democratic Party. If he succeeds, it will leave the world’s lone Jewish state further isolated and exposed to those who want to cause it harm. It will hurt America’s interests in the region, where we need more allies working with us against foes like Iran, China, and Russia. . . . If Congressman Bowman truly cares about advancing peace, he will abandon his damaging and counterproductive agenda. Those of us who care deeply about the US-Israel relationship call on Rep. Bowman to change course.”