Georgia Democrat’s sermon blasting Israel resurfaces ahead of Senate run-off

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A controversial video has resurfaced featuring Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, in which he made comments highly critical of Israel.

In a sermon that was recorded in 2018 and reported by Jewish Insider that is currently circulating among Jewish conservatives, Warnock — who is facing incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a Jan. 5 run-off election, ripped Israel after a White House ceremony praising the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

During his 2016 campaign, then-GOP nominee Donald Trump promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, just as Democratic and Republican presidents before him had done. But Trump followed through on his pledge.

“It’s been a tough week. The administration opened up the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Standing there [were] the president’s family and a few mealy-mouthed evangelical preachers who are responsible for the mess that we found ourselves in, both there and here — misquoting and misinterpreting the Scripture, talking about peace,” Warnock said.

“Meanwhile, young Palestinian sisters and brothers, who are struggling for their very lives, struggling for water and struggling for their human dignity, stood up in a non-violent protest, saying, ‘If we’re going to die, we’re going to die struggling,’” Warnock added.

The video is resurfacing as Warnock, along with Democrat Jon Ossoff, are trying to knock off both Georgia incumbents, Loeffler and David Perdue, in order to bring the balance of power in the Senate to 50-50. If Biden does win the presidency, his vice president, Kamala Harris, would hold the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats full control of Congress and the White House.

In the video, Warnock tried to compare the Palestinians with Black Lives Matter supporters in the U.S. He also appears to justify violence to achieve political objectives.

“Yes, there may have been some folk who were violent, but we oughta know how that works out,” he said in the video.

“We know what it’s like to stand up and have a peaceful demonstration and have the media focus on a few violent uprisings. But you have to look at those Palestinian sisters and brothers, who are struggling for their human dignity and they have a right to self-determination, they have a right to breathe free,” Warnock continued.

“We saw the government of Israel shoot down unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey. And I don’t care who does it, it is wrong. It is wrong to shoot down God’s children like they don’t matter at all. And it’s no more anti-Semitic for me to say that than it is anti-white for me to say that black lives matter. Palestinian lives matter,” he claimed.

Former Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Anti-semitism, blasted Warnock’s “vile” comments, the New York Post reported.

“It’s really vile. Don’t tell me he’s a friend of Israel,” Hikind, who blasted Warnock’s comments on his organization’s website, said, adding clips of violent protests in Gaza opposed the U.S. Embassy relocation.

Hikind said he didn’t understand why Warnock would describe the move as a “tough week.”

“The purpose of the demonstrations in Gaza was to force the border open to invade Israel. What country in the world would permit that? What planet are you living in?” Hikind asked.

A spokesperson for Warnock’s campaign tried to claim the candidate is a supporter of Israel.

“It is clear that our opponent is going through thousands of hours of footage trying to find a way to misrepresent who Reverend Warnock is and scare Georgians,” the spokesperson told Jewish Insider.

“But that does not change the fact that Reverend Warnock is a staunch ally and supporter of Israel and the Jewish community in our state. Reverend Warnock agrees with Dr. King that ‘Israel’s right to exist as a state in security is incontestable,’ and believes a two-state solution is the path to enduring peace,” the campaign official said.

In a column to the outlet, Warnock also sought to downplay his comments.

“I understand and recognize Israel’s unique historical importance as the greatest proponent of democracy in the Middle East and America’s most important partner in the region. I understand the many threats that face Israel and as a U.S. senator I will work to ensure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said, adding that he supports a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians.

Jon Dougherty

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