The last few days have been confusing for many of us as we consider our Congresswoman’s tweets about Israel and the influence AIPAC has in our government. Here are some things we know:
- Antisemitism is real. It’s insidious and harmful. We will always fight for our Jewish sisters and brothers right to live in safety, freedom and joy, from their homes to their schools and their synagogues.
- The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) pointed out in a report that the number of people who are prejudiced against Jews are similar to the number of people who are prejudiced against Muslims. Most people who are biased against Jews also harbor biases against Muslims, and vice versa. The people who hate us, hate Jews, too—no surprise there. Both Islamophobia and Antisemitism are tools of white supremacy.
- White supremacists use their power to pit Jews and Muslims against one another. This is a reality. Anytime you see groups of Jews and Muslims coming together, you will also see greater efforts by white supremacists like D. Trump to pull us apart (i.e. naming Jerusalem the capitol of Israel, moving the US embassy, etc.)
- There are Congressmen, Senators, and a *president* who are tweeting blatantly racist, Antisemitic, and Islamophobic comments daily. They are not being asked to apologize or being attacked the way Ilhan has been over the past few days.
- Ilhan Omar is a Black, Muslim, and refugee woman. She is the first in Congress to hold all of these identities simultaneously. The attacks on her have been laced with racism, nationalism and Islamophobia. She has been told to “go back to her country”, has been Islamophobically deemed a closeted anti-Semite, and is being held to a standard that no other Congressperson has been held to because of the identities she carries.
- AIPAC, Big Pharma, and other PACs and Super PACs have a lot of money. They use this money to influence our government to do things that do not represent our values. We should have just as much scrutiny when looking at AIPAC as we do when we look at other PACs. Any PAC with national influence should be carefully considered–and if it were up to us, banned.
- We need to find a way to be critical of harmful systems without hurting one another. We have spoken openly about Israel and Palestine with our Jewish sisters, and we came out feeling more love for one another. There *IS* a way to critique American politics and the governments of places we care about without being antisemitic, racist, or Islamophobic. More of that please.
Written by: The Muslim and Jewish Women Coalition of Minnesota
Beth Gendler- Executive Director-National Coalition of Jewish Women-Minnesota
Nausheena Hussain- Executive Director -Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)
Asma Mohammed – Advocacy Director -Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)
Jane Conrad- Field Representative- East Central Area Labor Council