Warnock Accused Netanyahu of Endorsing “Occupation Forever”

Georgia Senate candidate Revered Raphael Warnock accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a 2015 sermon of endorsing “occupation today, occupation tomorrow, occupation forever.”

Warnock said in the sermon that both Israeli and Palestinian children have been “caught in the crossfire” in “a land of violence and bloodshed and occupation.” He proceeded to call Netanyahu, who was running for re-election at the time, a “clever politician” and said that Netanyahu’s opposition to a two-state solution at the time amounted to Netanyahu supporting “occupation today, occupation tomorrow, occupation.”

The reverend proceeded to argue that without a Palestinian state, Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish democracy because the Arabs would eventually outnumber the Jews in Israel if the Israeli government were to forgo a two-state solution. “You will have to have apartheid in Israel that denies other citizens, sisters and brothers, citizenship or you will have a democracy that is not a Jewish state,” Warnock said.

He then pointed out that Netanyahu had warned about Arabs coming to the polls in that election, which Warnock called a “racist and vicious” statement. Netanyahu later apologized for that remark.

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks argued in a statement that Warnock had compared Netanyahu to segregationist George Wallace, who said “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever” during his 1963 inaugural address as the then-governor of Alabama. Brooks called this apparent comparison “simple hatemongering,” pointing to the fact that Linda Sarsour agreed with Warnock’s apparent comparison of Netanyahu to Wallace.

“Warnock claims to have recently come to understand that Hamas is a violent enemy threatening Israel,” Brooks said. “There is a great deal more that he needs to learn about the Palestinians’ goal of genocide and Israel’s history of sacrificing for peace, before the Jewish community could ever begin to trust his newly announced ‘support’ of Israel. The preponderance of anti-Israel statements in his past argues that he will side with Israel’s opponents in the Democratic Party and against Israel at every opportunity.”

Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel Democratic group that recently endorsed Warnock, accused the RJC of “engaging in purposeful misreading & demagoguery” of Warnock’s sermon.

A spokesperson from the Warnock campaign told Fox News that Warnock “does not believe Israel is an apartheid state.” Warnock had previously been under fire for his name appearing on a letter that drew a comparison between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and “apartheid South Africa,” as well as for accusing Israel of shooting “unarmed Palestinian brothers and sister” in 2018 during the riots at the Israel-Gaza border after the Trump administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The controversy prompted Warnock to write an op-ed for the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) on November 10 stating that he doesn’t believe that Israel is an apartheid state and that while he supports “our current partnership with Israel,” he believes that a two-state solution is the only way for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He also announced his opposition to “the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and its anti-Semitic underpinnings, including its supporters’ refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.”

Warnock reiterated these remarks in a December 8 virtual event with JDCA, stating that he believes in Dr. Martin Luther King’s sentiment that Israel’s security and right to exist is “uncontestable.” He also said he is having an “increased recognition” about the threat Hamas poses to Israel and that his past comments remarks on Israel were out of concern for Palestinian rights.

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