In a letter to the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) on Friday, the Coalition for Jewish Values, a group of traditional rabbis, accused Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock of “antisemitic rhetoric.”
The group, which represents “over 1500 traditional rabbis in matters of public policy,” also accused liberal Jews from the JDCA of trying to “whitewash” Warnock’s views by circulating a petition claiming that he was the victim of “baseless claims and attacks.”
The Coalition addressed a recent JDCA meeting at which Warnock had been given an opportunity to explain his views to the Jewish community. The traditional rabbis said that they were “concerned and hurt by the manner in which the Reverend brushed aside his past rhetoric against Israel and the Jewish community.
The rabbis expressed concern about Warnock’s rhetoric in sermons at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. In one sermon from 2018, for example, Warnock said that Israel was shooting “unarmed” Palestinians like “birds of prey.” The rabbis said Warnock’s “non-answer” to the criticism was unacceptable: “He then said, ‘I’m a pastor. I preach every Sunday. I preach a lot of sermons. And I think that as I recall that sermon, I was speaking to the issue of activists and human rights and the ability of people to be heard.’ This non-answer is frightening. How was speaking about human rights and being heard relevant to his claim that “we saw the government of Israel shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey?”
The letter went on to read, “We must say this openly: 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.”