With two Jews in the GA Senate runoff, it was inevitable that the ugly side of politics would try to use AntiSemitism as an accusation or a tool. In fact, both are happening. In both cases, accusation and tool, it is the Republican campaigns that are using the topic. Republican candidate Perdue's campaign used images of Jewish Democratic Osoff with elongated noses as a tool (later retracted and denied). Republican Jewish candidate Loeffler is accusing her Christian opponent Warnock of being an anti-Israel extremist as an accusation. Both are ugly, reprehensible and false. The idea that they can be a team is even more astounding.
The following is from Rabbi Joshua Heller, Senior Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Torah in the Atlanta region since 2004:
Friends,I was going to sit this one out, but the level of lashon hara got to the point where I felt I motivated to weigh in. This conversation reminds me of people complaining about the rabbi's sermon over kiddush, when it turns out they are only reflecting on what they heard second hand because they were napping through the original delivery.
To call Rev. Warnock a "vicious anti-semite" is simply mistaken. Rev. Warnock (and the members of his clergy team) have deep partnerships and decades-long collaboration. with the Jewish community here, long before any discussion of political office, and he hosted the USCJ convention at his church in 2017. I've only met him a few times, but I'm friendly with a number of members of his team, and these are not Jew-haters.
Rev. Warnock clearly has a particular agenda he wants to bring to DC. Based on your political leanings, you might agree or disagree, but Israel is not a big part of his agenda either way. He's said a lot of things about Israel, some more supportive, some clearly problematic (if you comb through any of our sermons over the last 5 years, you'd find something to disagree with). Both he (and Ossoff, who also got J Street's endorsement, but harder to call him an anti-semite because he is Jewish, I guess) are to the left of where I would prefer them to be on Israel, but Warnock came to the AIPAC convention this past year with a desire to learn and build bridges. Even if his change of heart was just a matter of knowing where his bread is buttered, comparing him to the squad is like confusing "Yesh Atid" with "The Joint List."
We're all happy to overlook the anti-semitism on our side of the aisle. Just to stir the pot further- there are a lot of accusations of anti-semitism to go around, there are candidates in this race who have put out ads portraying their Jewish opponents with elongated noses, (though to be fair I think Perdue is not anti-semite, I think he just has anti-semites on his team). and another who has endorsed the clearly anti-semitic QAnon conspiracy theories.
There are no perfect candidates in these races. There are no "pareve" choices here. Just be careful throwing around the accusations of anti-semitism.
As a side note- what's going on in Georgia is insane. Gabriel Sterling, the state official who supervised the elections, and his boss, Raffensberger are as Republican as they come, and I think if there were a judgement call in Trumps favor in their power to decide, they might have have made it, but they would not let their preference override their commitment to truth and law, and Sterling in particular is facing constant death threats as a result.
- Rabbi Joshua Heller Nov. 23, 2020.