“Warnock’s statements about Israel are not merely false, but are tainted with classic anti-Semitic tropes familiar to every Orthodox rabbi,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), an organization representing over 1,500 traditional rabbis, released a letter Friday sent to the Warnock for Senate campaign and the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) last week, denouncing anti-Semitic rhetoric from Georgia Democratic Senate runoff candidate Raphael Warnock and challenging the JDCA’s “partisan” and “irresponsible” defense of his statements.
“Warnock’s statements about Israel are not merely false, but are tainted with classic anti-Semitic tropes familiar to every Orthodox rabbi,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV.
“We sent our letter to his campaign and the JDCA via email on Monday, requesting evidence that Rev. Warnock reversed his threatening positions prior to running for office. The lack of response is telling,” Lerner said.
“For us this is not a political matter, but an existential concern – these positions have proven to be not merely dangerous but deadly in the past,” he said.
In addition to Lerner, the letter was signed by CJV’s Southern Regional Vice President Rabbi Moshe Parnes and the leaders of Georgia’s two largest Orthodox congregations, Rabbi Ilan Feldman of Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta and Rabbi Avigdor Slatus of Congregation Bnai Brith Jacob in Savannah.
“We have thousands of years of experience with hateful rhetoric of this nature, and the deadly consequences of allowing it to flourish uncontested,” the letter said.
“Only a fool, or someone callously unconcerned for the safety of Israel and the Jewish community, would grant credence to what he says on the campaign trail today to Jewish audiences, over what he said just a year ago in front of his own, supportive congregation,” it said.
The CJV letter referred to a 2019 letter signed by Warnock that likened Israeli control of Judea and Samaria to “previous oppressive regimes” such as “apartheid South Africa.”
The CJV also criticized Warnock’s 2018 sermon in which he said, “We saw the government of Israel shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.”
The letter said, “Rev. Warnock misused his pulpit to bear false witness. He saw no such thing, because it never happened. Each and every element of his statement was false, defamatory, and bigoted.”
The letter asked the JDCA to produce “clear and compelling evidence” that Warnock has renounced these positions. “Otherwise, it remains clear that placing him in a position of power would be playing a dangerous gamble with history’s longest form of hate,” it said.
Last month, the JDCA circulated a letter which said, “We stand with Rev. Warnock and reject the baseless claims and attacks targeting him amid this Senate election.”
The JDCA letter said that criticism of Warnock’s statements was an attempt “to divide the Black and Jewish communities, and to divide the Jewish community, by spreading falsehoods about Rev. Warnock.”