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.
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.
- Janice Winfrey
- Rashida Tlaib
- Marc Rod
- apartheid South Africa
- Jim Crow
- United Nations
- International Criminal Court
- Pro-Israel America
- David Victor
- Haley Stevens
- Amnesty International
- israeli apartheid
- AIPAC PAC
- Andy Levin
- The Detroit News
- Democratic Majority for Israel
- Archie Gottesman
- Antony Blinken
- Two-State Solution Act