Jewish Democrats in the House Unanimously Condemn Remarks by Amnesty International Representative

March 16 2022

Last week, Amnesty International’s U.S. director, Paul O’Brien, stated that Israel “shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state,” and that Amnesty is “opposed to the idea . . . that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people.” This week, congressional Jewish Democratic condemned these comments. Ron Kampeas reports:

All 25 Jewish Democrats in the House, a fractious caucus that rarely unanimously agrees on issues of Jewish interest, signed onto a statement slamming recent comments by Amnesty International’s U.S. director, who said he believes polls showing overwhelming U.S. Jewish support for Israel are inaccurate.

“As Jewish Members of the House of Representatives, we represent diverse views on a number of issues relating to Israel. However, we are in full agreement that Mr. [Paul] O’Brien’s patronizing attempt to speak on behalf of the American Jewish community is alarming and deeply offensive,” the statement released on Monday reads.

Last week, . . . O’Brien defended Amnesty’s recent report designating Israel as an “apartheid” state. Someone at the event, at the Women’s National Democratic Club in Washington DC, asked him about a 2020 Ruderman Family Foundation poll that showed that eight in ten American Jews identify as “pro-Israel.” The poll is commensurate with findings of multiple polls over the years.

“I believe my gut tells me that what Jewish people in this country want is to know that there’s a sanctuary that is a safe and sustainable place that the Jews, the Jewish people can call home,” he said, a status short of a Jewish state, which O’Brien had said in the same address Amnesty rejected.

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Read more at JTA

More about: Amnesty International, Anti-Semitism, Congress, Democrats, U.S. Politics

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism