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October 24, 2021 6:16 pm
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Progressive Zionist Org Calls on US Lawmakers to Reject Antisemitism of Sunrise Movement Chapter That Withdrew From Rally With Jewish Groups

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A banner by the progressive group Zioness. Photo: Zioness.

A top progressive Zionist organization has called on a group of US Democratic lawmakers to condemn the “antisemitism” of an environmental advocacy group that withdrew from a rally over the presence of Jewish coalition partners.

The DC-based chapter of the Sunrise Movement set off a storm of controversy after it said it would pull out of the Freedom to Vote Relay-Rally at the Finish Line, which advocated for the protection of voting rights, “due to the participation of a number of Zionist organizations.”

The groups in question were the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, National Council of Jewish Women, and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, all mainstream liberal organizations.

In response, the progressive Zionist organization Zioness addressed an open letter to Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), Marie Newman (D-IL), Mike Levin (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), as well as Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), all of whom have been endorsed by the national Sunrise Movement.

“We write on behalf of tens of thousands of progressive American Jews who are deeply passionate about the fight for social, racial, economic, gender and environmental justice in America,” the letter said. “Given the increasingly normalized antisemitism in our progressive movement, we write to ask you to publicly and explicitly commit to inclusive, intersectional organizing that welcomes all committed activists, including Jewish activists — the overwhelming majority of whom identify as Zionists.”

“Attacking Jews as ‘Zionists’ is attacking Jews for believing in Jewish sovereignty and Jewish safety,” they said. “This is why an attack on Jews as Zionists is explicitly antisemitic.”

“Anti-Jewish animus has been rising around the globe and American Jews have been feeling the effects in painful and personal ways,” they added. “Maligning our communal leaders emboldens the forces of white supremacy that target all marginalized communities, and which find power in dividing the progressive movement against itself.”

“While the national Sunrise Movement has now distanced itself from [from Sunrise DC’s] statement, they have not addressed the essential issue: that Jews who support the existence of the State of Israel must be welcomed in social justice spaces,” the group said.

They concluded, “We urge you to use your voice to take a stand against divisive bigotry and recommit our movement to the urgent fight for environmental justice, voting rights, and the protection of our representative democracy.”

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