Tlaib primary challenger wants to “eliminate” Israel critics

Three people at podium

Congressional races in Michigan are taking up issues related to Israel and Palestinian rights.


Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey has called to “eliminate” Israel critics, apparently including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and other advocates employing “fancy” words for equal rights between Jews and Palestinians.

The two Democrats are facing one another in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District primary election scheduled for 2 August.

Conflating the Jewish people and Israel, Winfrey told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod: “I don’t care what your dislike is with the Jewish people, you don’t just wipe out a whole country, a whole group of people – that’s never the answer.”

The suggestion from the article is that Winfrey is directing her words at critics of Israel, perhaps even Tlaib – and accusing them of advocating genocide.

But Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman elected to the House of Representatives, has not called to “wipe out a whole country” or “a whole group of people.” Instead, she has advocated for equal rights for Palestinians in one state, much as equal rights were pursued in apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow American South.

Winfrey’s rhetoric suggests she has a problem with ending the apartheid practiced by Israel and is apparently content with the status quo and inferior rights for Palestinians. It also indicates she has no problem at all parroting Israel lobby smears against supporters of Palestinian rights.

Bearing in mind her conflation of Israel and the Jewish people, Winfrey disturbingly added, “However fancy you want to make those words so it doesn’t sound like that – but that’s what it is and that’s what you want to do … And I’ll do whatever I need to do to eliminate the likes of those who want to work and dislike the Jewish people just because of who they are.”

Winfrey was almost certainly smearing Tlaib who certainly doesn’t “dislike the Jewish people” – and anyone else who thinks Palestinians should not live under military occupation, apartheid and settler colonization by Israel. Jewish Insider should release the full transcript to clarify.

In a position paper shared with Jewish Insider, Winfrey claims “the actions of the United Nations, International Criminal Court and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” are “intended to weaken and delegitimize the Jewish State.”

“These organizations will stop at nothing to compromise the shared Israeli-American values,” she asserts. “The United States has an obligation to continue to cut off funding and support for these terrorist organizations and ensure that the world continues to recognize them as terrorist organizations.”

Her view of the UN, ICC and the BDS movement as “terrorist organizations” betrays a profound antipathy toward anything other than American unilateralism and a preference for American military intervention over international law, nonviolence and the rights of the Palestinian people.

Pro-Israel America claimed earlier this week to be “the first pro-Israel organization to endorse” Winfrey. Jewish Insider notes that local “folks at AIPAC … fell in love with her” and a fundraiser was organized on her behalf by former AIPAC president David Victor.

How much Victor, AIPAC and Pro-Israel America care about the economic hardship and racism faced by people in Tlaib’s district is unclear, but they’re all in on putting forward a candidate who will look the other way at Israeli apartheid.

Also in Michigan

Michigan’s 12th Congressional District is not alone in giving attention to Israel and Palestinian rights.

A denier of Israeli apartheid, Congresswoman Haley Stevens is getting significant campaign support from the Israel lobby as she attempts to win a primary battle with Congressman Andy Levin.

The two Democratic representatives are contesting the newly created 11th Congressional District.

The day Amnesty International’s report on Israeli apartheid was released, 1 February, Stevens condemned “efforts to unjustifiably brand Israel as an ‘apartheid state.’”

Haley, who traveled on a 2019 junket to Israel sponsored by lobby group AIPAC – paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, an AIPAC cutout – added that she “will always work to mitigate the threat of delegitimization against our closest friends in the Middle East.”

The new AIPAC PAC – an offshoot that directly contributes to political campaigns – has endorsed Stevens, and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for her.

In 2020, Emgage, a Muslim-American group with a history of supporting pro-Israel candidates, endorsed Stevens and held a fundraiser for her. This time around, Emgage is backing Levin, who also strongly supports Israel.

According to The Detroit News, AIPAC PAC contributed approximately $2,900 directly to the campaign and also gathered another $280,000 in individual contributions to be earmarked to her campaign.

A group of Jewish supporters, some of them connected to AIPAC, held a fundraiser earlier this year that brought in some $380,000.

Her campaign is also supported by Pro-Israel America and Democratic Majority for Israel which has genocide promoter Archie Gottesman on its board of directors. In June 2018, Gottesman tweeted: “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.”

Levin, for his part, is backed by J Street and, as noted, Emgage.

He has sponsored the Two-State Solution Act, a liberal response to the conflict that fails to recognize Israel’s violent theft and colonization of Palestinian land over the last three decades has foreclosed on the two-state possibility. Furthermore, such an outcome would make permanent Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians while relegating them to bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Though he fails to acknowledge that Israel perpetrates the crime against humanity of apartheid, he did sign a recent letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to “engage with the Israeli government to prevent the displacement of 38 families (approximately 300 people) and the demolition of their homes in the Palestinian village of al-Walaja in East Jerusalem.”

The delay is a good thing, but the underlying apartheid reality remains in place and must be addressed by members of Congress.




Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey, the Democratic challenger of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District, has decided that it is in her interest to ally herself with Zionists in Palestine/Israel and pro-Zionist pressure groups in the United States. As a result, she receives vitally important funding from them. Like Congressman Jamaal Bowman, the U.S. representative of New York’s 16th congressional district, she has calculated that she will profit from collaborating with, and crusading for, an apartheid state, a regime which promotes a body of laws, rules and regulations which isolates and molests all non-Jewish citizens in Israel and the Occupied Territories. This is the same regime which trains U.S. law enforcement in the brutal tactics it employs to single out, harass and imprison Black Americans throughout the United States. In this breach of faith with victims of racial profiling and persecution in the U.S. — and marginalized/brutalized groups throughout the world — Winfrey demonstrates that she has elected to make use of the same opportunistic methods and sharp practices employed by Bowman. This alliance with Zionists is a common form of treachery and double-dealing employed by Black corporate Democrats in recent years in U.S. politics, and she should be called out for her shameless betrayal of victims of discrimination, harassment and brutality in the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East.


It should come as no surprise that as Israel loses its cachet among oppressed minorities in the U.S., an organized recruitment process appears to be under way. The aim of this drive is to select, groom and sponsor political hopefuls in minority communities- or simply to turn higher profile figures in the desired direction (Rev. Warnock, for one). Thus we see Janice Winfrey in Detroit immediately raising $200,000 to contest the seat held by Rashida Talib, a particular target of the Lobby. Whether Winfrey prospers in her ambitions, we may expect to see more examples of Black candidates pledging allegiance to Israel, precisely because so few Black people are now drawn to a cause they see as racist. The hasbaristas hope to dispel this image by giving these figures a platform on which to demonstrate their affinity for the apartheid regime.

And, realistically, if they can't win significant support from people of color, maybe AIPAC and company can salve the white liberal conscience with the spectacle of Black candidates reeling off slanders directed at Palestinians and their advocates. Winning every election isn't the goal. Controlling the discourse, making targeted persons defend themselves at every turn, intimidating others into silence, these are proven achievements of the Lobby. Increasingly, they'll be campaigning for apartheid from behind a number of Black and brown visages.

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.