I've thought long and hard about the remarks by @IlhanMN and the backlash it has created. As the son of a holocaust survivor and a strong supporter of Israel's right to be secure, and as a life long democrat I wanted to share what I think about this set of developments. 1/
I was quick to support @IlhanMN after her "all about the benjamins" remark because I too have be very critical of AIPAC and disagree with the way pro-Israeli forces have turned a blind eye and excused Israel's increasingly extreme and dangerous behavior over the past decades. 2/
Not knowing her it appeared possible that she did not understand and did not have the experience with Jewish colleagues to see how her remarks could be taken as insulting and playing on old and dangerous stereotypes. 3/
But her subsequent reactions and statements have worried me because it is not clear she understands how these remarks can be harmful and dangerous, and repeating the same mistake raises the possibility that she may actually believe some of these old tropes. 4/
But since I don't know her and have not spoken to her, I cannot say whether she is inexperienced or something worse. And I am reminded of a story from my mother who worked in central Florida at the end of her life for a state agency. 5/
In a friendly conversation, one of her co-workers was saying that she got a great deal on a car recently and was proud of how she had "jew-ed down: the price with the dealer. My mother - who was Jewish and raised in the south - was shocked. 6/
I asked my mom if she got angry, and she said "I started to but then realized my co-worker may never have been friends with a Jewish person before. So I said - you may not know it but I am Jewish and that statement is really offensive to Jews." 7/
My mom took the time to explain some of the history and background, and her co-worker was mortified. They became good friends after that and I valued that my mother took a chance to become angry and turned it into a learning experience that benefited both people. 8/
And so when I look at the reaction from proven, notorious and proud racists, anti-semites and hate filled people like President Trump and many in the GOP who want nothing but to score political points off of this series of events, I am angry. 9/
Those like Trump who have called for @IlhanMN expulsion did nothing for years when @SteveKingIA raged his hateful talk. They do nothing when Trump says there are good people on both sides, when @FoxNews spews hateful language year after year. 10/
And I get upset when I see the democratic party fall for this tired play by the GOP who do not fundamentally care about these issues but only seek to weaken their political opposition and divide Americans against other Americans. 11/
In the end, I want @IlhanMN and others who might not have the experience and background of relations with the Jewish community to understand how our fates - with Muslims, with African-Americans, with other immigrant or religious minorities are intimately tied together. 12/
If we can use this as a teaching moment and not allow us to fall for either the easy angry way out or to be exploited by political opportunists, then we can have good come out of these developments. 13/
And the best way to ensure that this is the case is to reach out and try to explain in a serious, sustained way how these terms and tropes can be harmful to our common cause. 14/
And lastly, whether she does or does not understand how her statements hurt, what @IlhanMN is saying has real value - Israel's leaders have become extreme and dangerous and it is legitimate for Americans officials and American Jews both to question their choices and protest. 15/
To say that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is another attempt to divide and deflect. I am Jewish, I have family in Israel, I am the son of a survivor and I object strongly to Israeli behavior on a range of issues. It is not only legit to do so, but our responsibility. end/
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