Politics

IfNotNow Activist Accuses Jewish Congressman Of Dual Loyalty

'You represent American Jews, not Israelis'

An audience member connected to the anti-Israel organization IfNotNow accused Rep. Brad Schneider (D., Ill.) of dual loyalty during a town hall with constituents last week.

The organization promoted the video on its Twitter account and blasted Schneider as a "die-hard @AIPAC-nik" who "couldn't even say the word ‘Occupation.'"

"I have family in Israel, as I'm sure that you do, so your Israel policy is of particular concern to me," the audience member, identified by the video's subtitles as "Nathan," said while reading from his phone. "When Donald Trump opposed BDS, moved the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, signed the Taylor Force Act into law, withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, and recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, you celebrated every single one of these moves."

"How is your policy towards Israel different than President Trump's?" he asked Schneider.

"My policy towards Israel is supportive of the U.S.-Israel relationship," Schneider responded. "Israel is without question our best ally in the region. Israel is one of our most important allies in the entire world. So you go down the list, let's start with the embassy. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. If you would talk to Israelis, if they think the U.S. should move its capital to Jerusalem, they would say ‘yes,' and not just the U.S., every country should move their embassy to the capital."

At that point, a man from the crowd shouted out, "That's not what he asked." "You represent American Jews, not Israelis," Nathan added.

"No, I represent the United States," Schneider responded.

The video then cuts to Nathan asking a follow-up question. "Prime Minister Netanyahu prevented Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country. Do you maintain confidence in Netanyahu's administration, yes or no?"

"I'll give you a different answer but I hear your question. I opposed the Israeli government's decision to block Tlaib and Omar's visits," Schneider said. "I also disagree with Tlaib and Omar's position on almost virtually, probably, exactly every single position they have with respect to the U.S.-Israel relationship. I disagree with them on principle."

Nathan's charge that Schneider's support for Israel meant he was representing Israelis, not American Jews invokes the anti-Semitic charge of dual loyalty. Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) recently apologized after a tweet suggesting that the U.S. ambassador to Israel had a dual loyalty because of the ambassador's support for Israel's blocking of visits from Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).

IfNotNow tweeted out the video of Schneider's appearance yesterday along with a Twitter thread, writing "Last Thursday, 2 young Jewish constituents challenged @RepSchneider to acknowledge the Occupation as a human rights crisis, and distinguished his approach to Israel/Palestine from Donald Trump's. He failed. Schneider, a die-hard @AIPAC-nik, couldn't even say the word ‘Occupation.'"

https://twitter.com/IfNotNowOrg/status/1165964972431687680

A co-founder of IfNotNow, Max Berger, currently works for Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) presidential campaign and came under fire for tweeting that he would "totally be friends with Hamas." He also faced accusations of fabricating stories about the Birthright Israel program to try to paint the organization as indoctrinating participants with anti-Israel propaganda.