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ADL Warns Against ‘Incendiary’ Anti-Israel Stances of Some Left-Wing Candidates in 2022 US Elections

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Signs at a pro-BDS protest in New York following the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri.

As the US heads towards a busy election season in November, with voters going to the polls at both federal and state levels, some left-wing candidates “have embraced themes related to Israel that range from incendiary to dangerous and antisemitic,” according to a new briefing published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday.

The ADL briefing identified four main themes espoused by anti-Zionists on the US left: the aim of ostracizing anyone regarded as a “Zionist,” the antisemitic canard that supporters of Israel control the US government and media, the comparison between Israel and the Nazi regime along with white supremacy more generally, and the endorsement of violent confrontation with a state deemed to be “genocidal.”

Social media postings and statements issued by several candidates on the left confirmed these trends, the briefing stated. Among the examples given was a tweet posted by Stephanie Gallardo, a Democratic congressional candidate in Washington state, that declared, “I will not allow Zionism to manifest any further in the largest labor union in the country” — a reference to ongoing political disputes within the National Education Association (NEA), which represents teachers in public schools and other workers in public education.

In a similar vein, the briefing highlighted a tweet from another Democratic congressional candidate, longtime Palestinian solidarity activist Huwaida Arraf, in Michigan — stating that “Zionism … has no place in our collective vision of freedom, justice & equality for ALL.”

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Assertions that supporters of Israel exercise a sinister influence over government and media are also commonplace. “These ideas play into longstanding antisemitic tropes about Jewish lust for money and control over public affairs,” the briefing argued. “Several left-wing candidates have claimed that American pro-Israel policies are chiefly influenced by financial donations by Zionists.”

“Among the 2022 candidates who have run into this issue in recent years are Congressional candidate Nina Turner (D-OH) and Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). On two occasions, Reps. Tlaib and Omar have expressed regret or apologized for their remarks,” the ADL noted.

The briefing warned that rising levels of antisemitism in the US had impacted the thinking of parts of the left.

“Hateful and extremist beliefs, along with fringe ideas, have penetrated into mainstream spaces, sabotaging civil discourse,” the briefing argued. “More than any time in recent memory, people view political disagreements not as good faith disputes but as zero-sum clashes with dangerous, malicious, or illegitimate adversaries. Such a dynamic can create systemic dysfunction and ultimately subvert democratic institutions and governance.”

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