The anti-Palestinian racists attacking Raphael Warnock

Man stands with hands clasped

Rabbi Ilan Feldman has gone on the offensive against US Senate candidate Raphael Warnock without Atlanta media examining his own anti-Palestinian connections and baggage. (via YouTube)

Over the last few weeks, Reverend Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate for one of Georgia’s US Senate seats, has abandoned his support for Palestinian rights.

I have painstakingly documented his collapse under Israel lobby pressure.

But what do we know about those pressuring him?

So far, we know that following his rapid reversals, Warnock was endorsed by the political action committee of Democratic Majority for Israel.

DMFI recently wrote members of Congress excusing Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The lobby group approvingly cited Regavim, a right-wing settler group connected to Bezalel Smotrich, a member of Israel’s parliament who supports segregation and expulsion for Palestinians – ideas that have been called potentially genocidal by Daniel Blatman, a prominent Israeli scholar of the Holocaust.

In 2015 Smotrich claimed God commanded Jews not to sell homes to Arabs.

“I believe in God’s words,” Smotrich stated. “I prefer that Jews make a living and wouldn’t sell a house to Arabs.”

And now, we know that Ilan Feldman, a rabbi for Atlanta’s Congregation Beth Jacob, is leading the charge against Warnock.

Feldman and three other rabbis criticized Warnock’s Israel-related views in a December letter the Coalition for Jewish Values sent to Warnock.

This is a right-wing organization that aims to combat the influence of “American liberal Jewish movements” and “left-wing ideologues.”

The Coalition for Jewish Values recently attacked Jewish Voice for Peace for hosting a panel of speakers who condemned anti-Semitism, but refused to equate activism for Palestinian rights with anti-Jewish bigotry.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the group’s managing director, has defended Israel’s Nation-State law that enshrines superior rights for Jews over Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Legal advocates say the law violates international prohibitions on apartheid.

Menken’s comments should lead Warnock to push back rather than continue to knuckle under on equal rights for Palestinians.

Instead, Warnock has rapidly been moving in Menken’s direction.

Rabbi Ilan Feldman

Warnock is also moving in the direction of Rabbi Ilan Feldman.

In a 2017 speech Feldman gave about the 1967 War, not once did he stop to consider the legal or moral implications of Israel’s 50 years of control since then over the lives of Palestinians and Syrians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.

He argued that “millions of Jews were again threatened by annihilation while the world postured and did absolutely nothing.”

This rewriting of history ignores the basic fact that Israel started the war with a surprise attack on Egypt. Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan later admitted that the taking of the Golan Heights was fueled by a lust for more land.

During the war, Israel forced out more Palestinians, as it had in 1948, and decades later Israel’s occupations continue to inflict horrific harm on Palestinians and neighboring countries and their populations.

Just days after Israel occupied East Jerusalem, Israel ethnically cleansed the ancient Moroccan Quarter – destroying within days over 100 houses, a centuries-old mosque and by 1969 other treasures – in order to create what is now the Western Wall Plaza.

But Feldman remembered entering occupied East Jerusalem as a child. He called it “unbelievably thrilling” and recalled without remorse “bulldozers bulldozing down all those old houses.”

In Feldman’s talk, Palestinians don’t even warrant naming.

Feldman, Congregation Beth Jacob’s senior rabbi, is closely connected to Rabbi Yitzchok Tendler, the executive director.

Tendler is also a co-founder of Young Jewish Conservatives.

Rabbi Ben Packer, his co-founder, routinely incites unhinged bigotry against Palestinians and activists for Palestinian rights. Packer supports Meir Kahane, a racist who demanded the wholesale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Kahane’s affiliated organizations – including Kach and offshoot Kahane Chai – are designated as terrorist organizations by the US State Department.

Congregation Beth Jacob’s website obscures Tendler’s connection to Young Jewish Conservatives and Packer by stating he “serves as executive director of a national grassroots pro-Israel organization.”

This is very likely Young Jewish Conservatives, where Tendler is listed as a co-founder and director.

Tendler and Packer, as documented by The Electronic Intifada, have cultivated right-wing politicians such as Congressman Dan Crenshaw in their work with Young Jewish Conservatives.

From left, Yitzchok Tendler, Congressman Dan Crenshaw and Ben Packer pose with an Israeli flag. (via Facebook)

Packer is also supportive of anti-miscegenationist Bezalel Smotrich’s political ambitions, urging him in December “to man up and do what has to be done” in forming “a fair deal” with political parties Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and Noam to “all run together” to clear the Knesset threshold to join the Israeli legislative body.

Mainstream media in Atlanta have yet to ask Feldman about Tendler’s close association with the outright racist Packer.

Congregation Beth Jacob faces more questions that must be answered.

A map on their website shows all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of Israel – an indication that should surprise no one of its support for Israel’s aggressive plans to settle and annex occupied Palestinian territory.

Best defense is a good offense

For weeks, Raphael Warnock has been playing defense against Senator Kelly Loeffler ahead of their 5 January runoff.

This is despite Warnock being a pastor with a long history of anti-racism, while Loeffler is a Republican Trump supporter who recently gave an interview to Jack Posobiec – a pundit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described as “associated with white supremacy and Nazism.”

Under pressure from Loeffler, Feldman and other anti-Palestinian advocates, Warnock has backtracked on his prior support for Palestinian rights.

He could have fought back against their anti-Palestinian bigotry, but is instead ceding ground to them.

It is past time for progressive Democrats to learn to play offense advocating for equal rights and freedom for Palestinians rather than conceding without a fight over the ethics of the oppression the US is funding each year.

The best defense is often a good offense. Democrats should try it the next time they’re inclined to discard Palestinians and their rights.




It has always confounded me why those US citizens support Israel unconditionally ,regardless of what or when the government of Israel takes action against the Palestinians .
I know it is a simplistic answer , but why not move there if the everlasting adoration of this state called Israel is so loved by them ?


I suspect that if Warnock defeats Loeffler, it will be for a number of reasons and that his groveling before the Israel lobby won't have been one. In the first instance, he's running against a candidate poorly equipped to respond on issues- or much of anything else. Second, Stacey Abrams has worked hard and successfully to expand Georgia's registered voter rolls, which will favor Warnock. Third, the belief firmly held by ordinary Republicans, that the Presidency was stolen from Trump through massive voter fraud, may generate a dip in the right wing turnout as a form of protest. Fourth, Warnock appears about as well-embedded in progressive circles as any recent candidate in Georgia. All of which raise the question, was his craven act of submission to the Lobby even productive, let alone necessary? And just to prove that it's never enough (think Jeremy Corbyn) he's being attacked all the same by many of the people and groups he sought to placate. When it comes to Zionism in America, it's seldom about the votes. It's about getting permission. And those mega-donations, which are often not required for securing that win but certainly look good in old collection plate.

Remember, they're not buying victory. They're buying the victor.


Tom, if electing Warnock rather than Loeffler was the critical issue for you, you wouldn’t stop at assuring it by relying on the narratives you cite. You’d want to make damn sure. Somewhere back in these posts, you basically told me to butt out because this site is for people dealing with real suffering due to their activism. You said I’m “sanctimonious” because I don’t, you assume, carry those bonafides. Well okay, I don’t. I’m a simple carpenter who sees things more like you than you would allow someone like me could. The difference is, it seems to me, that I fear losing.
Losing can mean dental work you can’t afford and in the case of Warnock, social work that won’t be paid for and a continuance and exacerbation of policies that keep his congregation much more than down; down and OUT!
Nowhere in your arguments have I heard real appreciation and empathy for the plight of Warnock’s congregation trans constituency. I will not pass judgment on you and imply that you’re not entitled to opine on issues of civil rights, as you did me. I’ll only say that there is a big difference between Cynthia McKinny the congresswoman and the void left in her place and that no one can trace the future, as you implied you had when you conveniently retraced the past leading up to election day. We didn’t win by a lot.
Promises are made to be broken. That’s just a fact of life and like most facts, that cuts both ways. Give the man a chance, for God’s sake! And recall that it was a much stronger African American community that helped shame America on South Africa, than the desperate and beleaguered one the last 3 decades of white gentrification and neglect have led to. The important thing is brother and sisterhood. We’ll see what happens.


Tom, with all due respect, this isn’t about a couple of rabbis inability to penetrate Warnock’s perimeter. They’re only the token advance decoys. Behind them are lines of troopers waiting for him to insist on boycotting those rabbi’s right to avoid another Holocaust.
After the rabbis come more articles, maybe Brown gets into the Atlanta Constitution. Then it makes daytime mainstream. Then letters to Congress, nighttime mainstream, ranks from both aisles of Congress disavowing him and finally the Sunday morning news rituals resulting in nobody over 55 voting for him. And so his goose is cooked.
But maybe you’re right and he had nothing to fear but fear itself and it was just elite Dems, like George Soros, inventing conspiracies to frighten off the enemies of the motherland.


The editor is wise to follow Socrates’ example and remain confident that open uncensored debate will eventually deliver the truth.
In this case, if there are any liberal Zionists perusing these columns, their mindsets might be affected by the debate between Tom and me. We are revealing, in our arguments over electoral strategy, the roots of the long standing and extremely oppressive contradiction between liberal Zionism and Black civil rights activism and how terribly destructive and self defeating it is. Not unlike censorship.


Forget it. Drop all my posts. Anyone who calls themselves progressive or even just a responsible human being and can't see how important it was to get the Senate, is beyond redemption. Hall's comment here is typical of Green Partiers, who always slam Dem candidates from the Left before an election and invariably sound like the Right when they rationalize their spoiler role. Here, in order to clear the last hurdle to establishing a clear rationale, Hall minimizes or even dismisses the role of 'The Lobby', so called, in distorting our political campaigns. That's certainly something you'd expect here from an AIPAC spokesperson.
Enough already. This horse is dead. I'll stop beating it now.

Michael F. Brown

Michael F. Brown is an independent journalist. His work and views have appeared in The International Herald Tribune,, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The News & Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and elsewhere.