Georgia Senate hopeful Raphael Warnock (D.) compared Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to segregationist George Wallace in a 2016 sermon.
Warnock likened Netanyahu’s stance opposing a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians to Wallace’s ardent segregationist views, Fox News reported Wednesday. Warnock told his congregation that the Israeli prime minister may as well say, "occupation today, occupation tomorrow, occupation forever," echoing the Democratic Alabama governor's call for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
Warnock, who has been dogged by accusations that he tolerates anti-Semitism, also said that true democracy is incompatible with the current system in Israel.
"If you don’t have a Palestinian state, you cannot have a Jewish democracy," Warnock said. "That state will either be Jewish, or it will be a democracy…. If you do not have a Palestinian state, you will have to have apartheid in Israel that denies other citizens, sisters and brothers, citizenship."
Anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour came to Warnock's defense on Twitter Wednesday night. "Warnock was absolutely correct," she said.
In 2019, Warnock signed a letter likening Israel to apartheid South Africa and Cold War-era Berlin. Warnock has also repeatedly praised Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a noted anti-Semite. Warnock has attempted to mend his spotty record on Israel, touting an endorsement from Democratic Majority for Israel.
The Republican Jewish Coalition said Warnock has a history of "hatemongering."
"His 2016 comparison of Prime Minister Netanyahu to segregationist George Wallace in front of an African-American audience was simple hatemongering," the group said in a release. "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."
Warnock is challenging incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.) in a critical January runoff that may determine control of the Senate.