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Anti-Israel Members of US Congress Silent on Successful Hostage Rescue Operation, Tweet Against AIPAC Instead

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2024. Photo: Craig Hudson/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Despite commenting regularly on the war in Gaza, some of the most vocal critics of Israel in the US Congress have remained noticeably silent following the rescue of four Israeli hostages from the Palestinian enclave over the weekend.

On Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stormed the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza to rescue four Israeli civilians abducted by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. After a tense shootout, the Israeli army secured the release of the hostages: Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Shlomi Ziv, and Andrey Kozlov. The four had been held in captivity in Hamas-ruled Gaza for eight months. At the time of their rescue, the hostages were reportedly being held by Palestinian civilians cooperating with Hamas.

Euphoric celebrations erupted throughout Israel and the United States in response to the IDF’s successful operation, and many leaders have commended the Israelis for carrying out the daring mission. However, some of the most outspoken US lawmakers regarding the Israel-Hamas war who routinely rail against the Jewish state have said nothing about the hostages being rescued. However, they did take to social media to castigate the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) did not post a statement responding to the release of the hostages from the Nuseirat refugee camp. Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, has repeatedly issued blistering condemnations of Israel, referring to the country as “Jewish supremacist” and accusing it of “apartheid” and “genocide.” In past statements Tlaib drew an equivalence between Israeli hostages in Gaza and so-called Palestinian “political prisoners” who are being held in Israeli prisons, in many cases for terrorism-related offenses. Last month, Tlaib gave a surprise speech at a conference tied to the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in which she lambasted Israel.

Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA), another prominent anti-Israel member of Congress, has remained silent on the rescue of the four hostages in Gaza. Lee came under fire last July for voting “no” on a resolution that rejected the notion that Israel is a “racist state.” The congresswoman has voted against sending aid to help bolster Israel’s military operations against Hamas terrorists. Lee also called for an “immediate ceasefire” only nine days after Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel which left over 1,200 people dead. More than 250 people were taken to Gaza as hostages during the onslaught.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), one of the most left-wing members of Congress, has also refrained from commenting on Saturday’s successful IDF operation. Bush has repeatedly argued that Israel’s war against Hamas is tantamount to a “genocide.” She has accused the Jewish state of engaging in “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians. The progressive lawmaker also donned a keffiyeh — a traditional Arab headdress that has been repurposed after Oct. 7 to symbolize solidarity with the Palestinian cause — in the halls of Congress.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), arguably the most prominent progressive in Congress, has kept mum regarding the hostage rescue. Ocasio-Cortez has previously denied that Israel is a democracy and accused the state of engaging in “apartheid.” Only weeks after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorism, Ocasio-Cortez called for a “ceasefire” between Israel and the terrorist group. In March, the congresswoman accused Israel of inflicting a “famine” and “genocide” against civilians in Gaza. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has also not yet released a statement regarding Saturday’s hostage rescue. Like his fellow left-wing peers, Bowman has repeatedly accused Israel of being an “apartheid state.” Only days after the Oct. 7 terror attacks, Bowman signed onto a ceasefire resolution which made no reference to hostages or Hamas. The progressive lawmaker also dismissed the heavily-corroborated claims that Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women as mere “propaganda” and “lies.”

Tlaib, Lee, Bush, Ocasio-Cortez, and Bowman did not respond to requests for comment from The Algemeiner.

However, Bush, Bowman, and Ocasio-Cortez over the weekend all went on X/Twitter to lambast AIPAC in response to the news outlet Politico reporting that the pro-Israel group is the “single biggest source of Republican donations into Democratic primaries.” All three lawmakers attacked AIPAC, which seeks to strengthen bipartisan support for the US-Israel relationship, claiming it’s a “far-right” organization and a tool of the Republican Party.

“If you don’t want far-right Republican megadonors choosing your Democratic Congressperson for you, #rejectAIPAC and vote Cori Bush on August 6th!” Bush tweeted.

“Hmm it’s almost like AIPAC functions as a political slush fund for Republican billionaires and should not have influence in the Democratic Party, let alone our primaries,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

In contrast, Democrats sympathetic to Israel showered praise on the IDF for its successful hostage rescue operation. 

This is a triumph that also remains unfinished until every last hostage is brought back home,” Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) wrote. 

Nothing inspires hope like the rescue of hostages.  Thank you to the IDF for bringing home Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) wrote.

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Will Hostage-Taking Journalist Abdallah Aljamal Be Added to CPJ ‘Casualty’ List?

The Al Jazeera Media Network logo is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar, June 8, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

One day after Israeli security forces rescued four Israeli hostages from their Gazan captivity, both the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency) confirmed that three of the hostages had been held captive in the family home of Abdallah Aljamal.

Aljamal, who was killed during the raid that freed the hostages, had previously served as a spokesman for the Hamas-run Gaza Labor Ministry and, as a journalist, had contributed to Al Jazeera, and served as a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle.

His last article was published by the Chronicle one day before the Israeli rescue operation.

Abdullah Al-Jamal was not a “freelance contributor” for the Palestine Chronicle. As the outlet itself has repeatedly stated, he was in fact its “correspondent in Gaza.”

They clearly changed the bio to try and avoid legal repercussions

— Eitan Fischberger (@EFischberger) June 10, 2024

With Abdallah Aljamal’s death as part of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, it begs the question whether he will be added to the running list of “journalist casualties in the Israel-Gaza war” compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Since the start of the war, the CPJ’s list of journalist casualties has been used by a variety of news outlets, activists, pundits, and politicians to highlight the seemingly disproportionate number of Gaza-based journalists killed during Israel’s counter-terrorism campaign, and to question whether Israel is purposefully targeting reporters and other media workers.

However, as noted earlier by HonestReporting, a significant number of the journalists who appear on the CPJ’s list were in some way affiliated with Hamas and other anti-Israel terror organizations.

As of this writing (June 10, 2024), close to 50% of the 103 Palestinian journalists listed by the CPJ either worked for news outlets affiliated with terror organizations, or were active members in these organizations themselves.

While he was working as a so-called “journalist,” Abdallah Aljamal also held hostages captive for Hamas.

Shockingly, his death qualifies him for the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (@pressfreedom) list of media workers killed in the conflict.

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) June 9, 2024

If Abdallah Aljamal is added to the CPJ’s list, this will only highlight the problematic nature of the list by including terrorists and kidnappers among the ranks of killed Palestinian media workers, and will serve to further debunk the libel that Israel is targeting journalists in order to stifle their reporting capabilities.

If Aljamal is not included on the CPJ’s list of killed Gaza-based journalists, it will ultimately need to be asked what separates him from the likes of Hamza Al Dahdouh, Mustafa Thuraya, and Mohammad Jarghoun — all three of whom are accused of being active members of terrorist organizations and who appear on the list.

In either case, the mere possibility that Abdallah Aljamal, a Hamas member who helped hold three Israeli civilians hostage, will be added to the CPJ’s list of killed journalists is a cold reminder of the interaction between terrorism and civilian life in Gaza, the influence that Hamas has over the media in Gaza, and the untrustworthiness of outlets that turn a blind eye to these salient factors.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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Missile Barrage Hits Northern Israel, Emergency Services Report

Firefighters respond to a fire near a rocket attack from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, June 14, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli emergency services reported dealing with a string of fires in northern Israel on Friday after dozens of missiles were fired from southern Lebanon into the area around the border town of Kiryat Shemona.

The military said that warning sirens had sounded in northern Israel and emergency services said teams were searching the area, where they reported there was property damage but no casualties.

Television footage on Friday showed damaged buildings and cars as well as brush fires in several locations caused by strikes or falling debris amid heatwave conditions.

The Israeli military has exchanged regular fire with Hezbollah forces across the border in southern Lebanon ever since the start of the war in Gaza in October.

Neither side has appeared to wish a wider conflict, but there has been growing worry that the steady intensification of strikes could push the situation out of control with the risk of a wider conflict in a region that has already seen direct exchanges between Israel and Iran.

The latest salvo came after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, drawing the heaviest bombardment of northern Israel since the start of the war in October last year.

Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes on both sides of the border, creating growing pressure to resolve the stand-off, but diplomatic efforts have so far proved fruitless.

On Friday, the Israeli military said fighter jets and anti-aircraft systems had intercepted 11 of the 16 drones launched by Hezbollah against Israel in the past 72 hours.

“The Israeli Air Force is continuing to operate at all times to thwart terrorist activities and protect Israel‘s skies from any threat,” it said in a statement.

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G7 Warns Iran Over Continuing Nuclear Program Escalation

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a family photo as they arrive to attend a dinner at Swabian Castle in Brindisi, Italy, June 13, 2024. Photo: Italian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

The Group of Seven leaders warned Iran on Friday against advancing its nuclear enrichment program and said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia, according to a draft communique.

“We urge Tehran to cease and reverse nuclear escalations, and stop the continuing uranium enrichment activities that have no credible civilian justifications,” the statement seen by Reuters said.

Iran has rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun setting up others, a UN nuclear watchdog report said on Thursday.

Iran is now enriching uranium to up to 60 percent purity, close to the 90 percent of weapons grade, and has enough material enriched to that level, if enriched further, for three nuclear weapons, according to an IAEA yardstick.

Iran must engage in serious dialogue and provide convincing assurances that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, in full cooperation and compliance with the IAEA’s monitoring and verification mechanism, including the Board of Governors’ resolution of 5 June,” the G7 said.

Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

The leaders also warned Iran about concluding a deal to send ballistic missiles to Russia that would help it in its war against Ukraine, saying they were prepared to respond with significant measures if it were to happen.

“We call on Iran to stop assisting Russia’s war in Ukraine and not to transfer ballistic missiles and related technology, as this would represent a substantive material escalation and a direct threat to European security,” they said.

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