‘NYT’ covers up Warnock flipflop under pressure from Israel lobby

The New York Times just ran a lengthy profile of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Georgia, that is propaganda for the Israel lobby. With a headline announcing that Warnock “Doesn’t Shy From ‘Uncomfortable’ Truths,” the article portrays Warnock as a bold progressive and covers up one of the big moments of his campaign this fall, when he folded under pro-Israel pressure and renounced earlier comments that were sharply critical of Israel: in 2018 Warnock sermonized that Israel had shot down unarmed Palestinian protesters “like birds of prey” and in 2019 he signed on to a letter comparing aspects of the Israeli occupation to apartheid South Africa.

This is how the Times boils down that drama and covers up Warnock’s flipflop.

In another sermon, Mr. Warnock criticized Israel, describing how people saw the government “shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.” In response, leaders in Georgia’s Jewish community spoke publicly in support of Mr. Warnock.

This is pure b.s. The actual “response” to publication of Warnock’s sermon in November was that Israel supporters savaged Warnock and the pastor of uncomfortable truths immediately began walking back his statements, saying, “I strongly oppose the BDS movement and its ​antisemitic underpinnings, including its supporters’ refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.”

That didn’t stop further attacks, including by incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and in December, Warnock issued a video statement to the Jewish Democratic Council of America going further, promising not to condition aid to Israel.

Our aid and support to Israel is something I would advance as a member of the Senate. 

After that, Warnock won the support of the Democratic Majority for Israel, a hardline pro-Israel group inside the Democratic Party that is rooted in AIPAC. DMFI exists to smash the progressives who are trying to make Israel accountable for killing children and other human rights violations. The video showed a strong progressive truckling to them.

That’s the political conundrum of the Warnock case: the Israel lobby succeeded in policing a person who has embraced some left/radical stances.

The Intercept devoted a long article to Warnock’s knuckling under three days ago. “HOW ISRAEL ATTACKS DROVE WARNOCK INTO THE ARMS OF A CENTRIST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP.”

This is the story that The New York Times really doesn’t want you to read, because it blows up the contradictory claim of the Democratic Majority for Israel: the idea that you can be Progressive Except for Palestine. The Intercept:

“DMFI’s entry into the Warnock race has dimmed any prospect that Warnock might have added a progressive voice on Israel to Congress, but the trend among Democratic voters is moving in the opposite direction.”

Reporter Akela Lacy quoted Beth Miller of Jewish Voice for Peace describing the reactionary political forces at work against the natural sentiments of Democrats.

“The future of the Democratic Party is conditioning military funding to Israel and eventually cutting that funding to Israel,” she said. “The future of the Democratic Party is for Palestinian rights — if for no other reason than that the Democratic base is overwhelmingly supportive of Palestinian rights — and of leveraging our military funding to ensure that the Israeli government is not oppressing Palestinians.”

The Intercept does not address the reason for Warnock’s collapse. That is the biggest issue here. Why would a progressive pol in a close race do a 180 on issues of great importance to the left? Surely in some large measure because of fundraising. DMFI is tapped into lucratic networks of pro-Israel donors. I have done my best to document the “gigantic” and “shocking” power of these donors, given the understanding inside the party that Jews account for as much as 50 percent of campaign funding. Obviously the New York Times doesn’t want to go near this calculus, or the effects of that understanding on Democrats’ stances on our apartheid client state.

h/t Donald Johnson.

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