A Democratic US congresswoman called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) a “hate group” on Tuesday after the pro-Israel lobby ran a Facebook advertisement implying her to be “more sinister” than Islamic State group.
Betty McCollum, who has previously criticized Israel’s occupation of Palestine, slammed the use of her image in the now-deleted ad, saying it incited “violence” and “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 released on her website.
US Congresswoman Betty McCollum condemned AIPAC and called it a “hate group” after the Israel lobby featured her in an attack ad and said that she poses a threat “maybe more sinister” than ISIS. #StopAIPACsHate pic.twitter.com/jH95B2HR9k
— VPalestine (@VPalestineT) February 13, 2020
The congresswoman referred to legislation she introduced to prevent the mistreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military prisons.
“AIPAC wants its followers to believe that my bill […] is a threat more sinister than ISIS,” she said. “This is not empty political rhetoric. It is hate speech.”
The two ads, which appeared on Facebook in late January, labeled the congresswomen “radicals in the Democratic Party” who are “pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people”.
— Rep. Betty McCollum (@BettyMcCollum04) February 12, 2020
AIPAC retracted the ads last week and apologized for the campaign’s wording, which it deemed to have “distorted our message”.
McCollum labeled AIPAC’s statement a “non-apology”, viewing it as “just another attack”.
Last April, McCollum introduced House resolution H.R. 2407 – “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act”.
— Richard Hardigan (@RichardHardigan) October 26, 2019
In a statement to the US Congress, she said:
“I am introducing legislation to protect children from abuse, violence, psychological trauma, and torture.”
Commenting on the issue, Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud wrote:
“Congresswoman Betty McCollum has taken a stand against the prevailing norm in American politics, arguing that Israel must respect the rights of Palestinian children, and that the US government should not be funding Israel’s violations of human rights.”
“While the US government, lawmakers and media often turn a blind eye to such violations, Congresswoman Betty McCollum does not,” Baroud added.
(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)