U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum Calls Pro-Israel Lobbying Firm a ‘Hate Group’


Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) a “hate group” in a Wednesday statement after the lobbying firm ran negative ads about her on Facebook.

The Facebook advertisements called McCollum and Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13) “radicals” who pose a threat “maybe more sinister” than ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

AIPAC removed the ads and said it regretted the “imprecise wording” that “offended many who are deeply committed to this cause.”

“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 continued.

McCollum, however, rejected AIPAC’s “non-apology,” saying it was “just another attack.”

“Hate is used as a weapon to incite and silence dissent. Unfortunately, this is my recent experience with AIPAC,” the Minnesota congresswoman said in a statement released Wednesday.

She went on to state that AIPAC’s “use of hate speech actually makes it a hate group.”

“This is not a call to action, it is incitement,” she said. “AIPAC’s language is intended to demonize, not elevate a policy debate. Vile attacks such as this may be commonplace in the Trump era, but they should never be normalized. Hate speech is intentionally destructive and dehumanizing, which is why it is used as a weapon by groups with a stake in profiting from oppression.”

McCollum concluded her lengthy statement by accusing AIPAC of “taunting Democrats and mocking our core values.”

“I hope Democrats understand what is at stake and take a stand because working to advance peace, human rights, and justice is not sinister – it is righteous,” she said.

McCollum was included in the advertisement because she is the lead sponsor of a bill that would link Israel’s foreign aid from the U.S. with its treatment of juvenile Palestinian detainees.

“AIPAC wants its followers to believe that my bill to protect Palestinian children from being interrogated, abused, and even tortured in Israeli military prisons is a threat more sinister than ISIS. This is not empty political rhetoric. It is hate speech,” McCollum said.

Tlaib praised McCollum for “her courage” in a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday.

“Speak the truth even if your voice shakes. I doubt our fearless colleague Betty McCollum’s voice is shaking, but I know she comes from a place that believes hate that incites violence doesn’t belong anywhere,” said Tlaib.

Omar was accused of anti-Semitism early last year when she suggested that AIPAC buys support in Congress, saying “it’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “AIPAC” by AIPAC. 







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2 Thoughts to “U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum Calls Pro-Israel Lobbying Firm a ‘Hate Group’”

  1. William R. Delzell

    As a U.S. citizen, I don’t see why Israel enjoys a double standard by getting a free-ride from hard-working U.S. tax payers, especially from middle- and lower-class Americans who are over-taxed while the rich one-percent are under-taxed. Why does’t AIPAC have to register as a foreign lobbying group when Palestinian and all other nationalities do?

    The only reason that Israel can afford to make herself so many enemies along her borders is because of the bottomless U.S. aid that the U.S. still lavishes on this particular country and because the U.S. allows Israel to interfere far more greatly in our elections than it would ever allow the Russians to do! If I didn’t know any better, I would think that the U.S.’s most strident pro-Israeli supporters have more loyalty to Israel than they do to their own country, the U.S. As a U.S. tax payer who works hard for his money and who struggles to keep solvent, it upsets me to no end when powerful politicians of both parties in this country display far less loyalty to the U.S. than they do to Israel.

    The chief culprits are NOT the Jews, but the Zionists, most of whom are so-called Christian fundamentalists like Betsy Devos, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Nancy Pelosis, Chuck Schumer, along with Osteen and his followers from Texas. Most of these pro-Israel lobbyists are also very anti-Semitic. Semitic, interestingly enough, means not only Jewish people but Arabic and Islamic people. Thus, most current Israeli Zionist supporters, one can deduce, are also anti-Semitic. U.S. Jews have become far less sympathetic towards Israel than they used to as Israel has increasingly sold out to far right anti-Semitic elements.

    As long as Israel can still count on a free ride from Uncle Sam, she sees no harm to herself in making more neighboring enemies than neighboring friends. If I were Israel, however, I would not press my luck on never-ending U.S. benevolence, as the U.S. has been a debtor nation since 1980 instead of a creditor nation. If the U.S.’s current creditors were suddenly to call back their loans for whatever reasons, Israel could find herself in a very dangerous, irreparable, jam.

    It would thus behoove Israel to make every effort possible to mend her fences with Palestine and other Arab neighbors. Her life could hang in the balance. You never know when you might need some new friends.

    As for us Americans, we need to constantly remind ourselves that our capitol is still in Washington, D.C. INSTEAD of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv!

  2. Deplorable Bay Stater

    It’s been said that we are judged by the company we keep. Betty McCollum seems to be in with some very bad company — including the likes of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib — so she shouldn’t be too surprised when she is judged harshly. Her over-reaction to a 100% accurate ad by AIPAC is very telling…maybe they got too close to the truth for her comfort.