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Orthodox rabbis are speaking out against Rev. Raphael Warnock just days before his Georgia Senate runoff, saying they have concerns with some of his past remarks about Israel.
“We are concerned and hurt by the manner in which the Reverend brushed aside his past rhetoric against Israel and the Jewish community, and even blamed his opponents for ‘trying to use Israel as yet another wedge issue,’” wrote Rabbi Ilan Feldman from Atlanta and Rabbi Avigdor Slatus from Savannah in a letter to Warnock’s campaign this week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The letter was also signed by two out of state rabbis from Coalition for Jewish Values.
The Democratic Warnock is facing off against GOP incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Polls show an incredibly tight race.
For months Warnock has been dogged by allegations of being anti-Israel — an issue a growing number of Democrats have faced as their left flank has grown more ascendent.
Rabbi Feldman cited a letter Warnock signed, along with other clergy in 2018, that compared Israel’s presence in the West Bank to “military occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa” and another sermon the same year in which he accused Israelis of shooting down “unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.”
Warnock has denied any allegation of anti-Semitism and had said his remarks were taken out of context. In another letter, nearly 200 rabbis have expressed support for Warnock. The clergyman is also backed by Jon Ossoff, the Democrat running for the other Georgia Senate seat.
It’s not the first time the reverend has taken heat from his ecclesiastical peers. Earlier this month a coalition of conservative Georgia ministers took him to task over his pro-abortion views, which was also first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“You have publicly expressed your views that abortion is an exercise of ‘human agency and freedom’ that is fully consistent with your role as a shepherd of God’s people,” the letter read. “We believe these statements represent grave errors of judgment and a lapse in pastoral responsibility, and we entreat you to reconsider them.”
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