When it comes to Israel, Guardian US correspondent Chris McGreal is an activist, not a journalist. His putative ‘news articles’ about the intersection of American politics with the Israeli-Palestinian issue almost always vilify pro-Israel groups, and members of Congress who support the Jewish state, while uncritically amplifying the tiny clique of anti-Israel ideologues in Washington.
To provide a sense of how small and unrepresentative of US public opinion the group championed by McGreal is, just last month the US House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 412 to 9, a resolution in support of Israel which says Israel “is not a racist or apartheid state” and declares the U.S. “will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.”
That bill was a response to comments by Rep. Pramila Jayapal calling Israel a racist state.
Though the congresswoman later walked back the allegation after widespread condemnation, her comments accurately reflect the views of most of her allies aligned with the Justice Democrats – a far-left political action group consisting of eleven sitting members of Congress for which McGreal is happy to provide free PR. It’s notable that two of the eleven members, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tliab, have histories of antisemitic rhetoric, while another, Cori Bush, was revealed to have campaigned and associated with an antisemitic activist who once said she wants to burn “every Israeli” alive.
The headline of McGreal’s latest piece (“Democratic House leader under fire for Israel trip sponsored by lobbyist group”, Aug. 12) is culled from the opening sentence. However, it soon becomes clear that the congressional delegation that visited Israel is “under fire” merely from the the Justice Democrats – members of whom largely overlap with the more informal House group known as ‘the Squad‘ – and other marginal groups.
A Democratic congressional delegation is under fire for a visit to Israel funded by the hardline lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), which is working to defeat other members of the party in next year’s elections.
Critics have accused the most senior Democrat on the tour, House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, of giving political cover to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has faced months of huge demonstrations against his far-right government’s power grab.
As we noted on these pages, last year McGreal insidiously accused Jeffries, the first Black person to lead a major political party in Congress, of being on “the wrong side of history” due to his strong support for Israel.
McGreal then devotes three paragraphs to the aforementioned Justice Democrats, three to the leader of Americans for Peace Now, two to J Street (an advocacy organization that focuses on criticism of Israel), and one to B’tselem (an organisation that effective opposes Israel’s right to exist). In contrast, the only pro-Israel organisation mentioned is the ostensible subject of the article, AIPAC, and they were only allotted one truncated sentence defending the Congressional delegation.
McGreal fails to challenge any of the groups’ charges, including comments by the president of Americans for Peace Now vilifying AIPAC for spending large sums of money to defeat “progressive” candidates, when Jeffries himself is an AIPAC-supported progressive Democrat, having been a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Guardian reporter also writes that members of Congress and the Justice Democrats are merely “critical of Israeli policies”, when several support BDS and some, such as Rashida Tlaib, even reject the right of Israel to exist – which is defined as antisemitic by the IHRA Working Definition.
McGreal’s broader argument in the article, that AIPAC doesn’t represent the views of most Americans, is an assertion contradicted by decades of polling consistently showing overwhelming support for Israel.
As much wishcasting that McGreal engages in an effort to paint AIPAC’s pro-Israel position as extreme, and to suggest an erosion of American support for Israel, the fact remains that its the fringe group of Corbyn-style, anti-Zionist members of US Congress who are the political outliers on the issue.