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McCollum: AIPAC weaponizes anti-Semitism and hate to silence debate

Minnesota (QNN)- Rep. Betty McCollum has described the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as a “hate group” after it ran an ad suggesting she, and other democratic congresswomen, pose a “more sinister” threat to the US than ISIS.

Rep. McCollum spoke out on Wednesday against the lobbying group, accusing it of using “hate speech” and weaponizing ant-Semitism in an ad posted on Facebook.

“AIPAC claims to be a bipartisan organization, but its use of hate speech actually makes it a hate group,” McCollum wrote in her statement. “By weaponizing anti-Semitism and hate to silence debate, AIPAC is taunting Democrats and mocking our core values.”

The ad, which has been removed, was linked to a petition that stated: “It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and – maybe more sinister – right here in the U.S. Congress.”

McCollum assured that attacking her and her work that promotes human rights for Palestinian children imprisoned by the occupation state, is hate speech.

“The decision by AIPAC to use my image in paid Facebook ads weaponizing anti-Semitism to incite followers by attacking me, my colleagues, and my work promoting human rights for Palestinian children detained in Israeli military prisons is hate speech,” McCollum said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Elected representatives in Congress ‘more sinister’ than ISIS? Last year, I met with AIPAC representatives from Minnesota in my office. Do forces ‘more sinister’ than ISIS sit down and meet with AIPAC’s advocates?”

In an interview with +972 Magazine, McCollum said that “to see such a hate-filled personal attack was very shocking.”

“They’ve incited hate through their speech. And they’re trying, the best I can figure out, to intimidate and bully members of Congress from speaking out.”

AIPAC removed the adds and apologized for the wording of the petition that suggested the members of Congress were “more sinister” than terrorist groups. However, it reassured the content of the ad.

“We offer our unequivocal apology to the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress who are rightfully offended by the inaccurate assertion that the poorly worded, inflammatory advertisement implied,” the statement said. “The ad […] alluded to a genuine concern of many pro-Israel Democrats about a small but growing group, in and out of Congress, that is deliberately working to erode the bipartisan consensus on this issue and undermine the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Responding to the partial apology, McCollum told +972 Magazine that “any kind of apology would have to be sincere, heartful, public, stating that they were wrong and that they would never do this again, and that they will refrain from using this type of speech towards anyone.”

Since she was first elected in 2001, McCollum has been defending the rights of vulnerable children, including refugees and Palestinians.

In April 2019, she introduced HR 2407, a bill that would require that U.S. funding not be used towards the “detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.”

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