A prominent Arab supporter of New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell invoked the “Israel firster” specter over the weekend when he accused the state’s Jewish voters of being more loyal to Israel than America.
Aref Assaf, president of the New Jersey-based American Arab Forum, opined Sunday evening in the New Jersey Star-Ledger about a Democratic primary that the state’s pro-Israel community is closely watching. The race pits Rep. Steve Rothman, a veteran pro-Israel stalwart, against Bill Pascrell, a well-liked Democrat who boasts a solid voting base.
Assaf accused New Jersey’s Orthodox Jewish voters of transforming the race from a domestic duel between local lawmakers into a proxy war between the state’s Jewish and Muslim communities.
“Unquestionably, this primary election is pitting two otherwise harmoniously coexisting communities: the Muslim and Jewish communities,” Assaf wrote in an article headlined “Rothman is Israel’s man in District 9.”
“As total and blind support for Israel becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s,” Assaf added.While groups such as the Center for American Progress (CAP) have since condemned the use of such language as antisemitic, that has not stopped Aref Assaf from taking advantage of the incendiary value of this historically exploited term for promoting Jew-hatred:
Assaf’s charge is reminiscent of the “Israel firster” slur, a borderline anti-Semitic allegation that stirred vigorous debate after it was bandied about by several writers at left-leaning media outlets. Jewish groups and others roundly condemned the smear, calling it a “dangerous political libel” that resonates “with historic and toxic anti-Jewish prejudices.”Apparently what turns others off to the rabid term "Israel Firster" attracted Assaf, who openly calls for "Palestinian resistance" -- a euphemism used by Palestinian terrorists for attacks on Israeli civilians.
How odd to hear the charge of Jewish divided loyalty from someone like Assaf who boasts of his Arab loyalties.
Let's see if there will be a stronger message condemning the antisemitic rantings of Mr. Aref Assaf.
Technorati Tag: Israel Firster and Antisemitism and Aref Assaf.