Congressman Engel Must Publicly Renounce this mailer!

On Friday, June 18th, several days before his election, an outside group called Avacy Initiatives sent around a mailer showing a map of Israel that included the entire West Bank. The West Bank is Palestinian land, not part of Israel. However, the Israeli government has been openly discussing annexing of this land, in direct violation of international law. Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, has been a huge supporter of Israel and has made it clear that his support for U.S. funding for the Israeli military is unconditional, something his primary opponent, Jamaal Bowman disagrees with. Bowman has argued that the U.S. should make its funds for Isreal conditional, based on its treatment of the Palestinians.

Avacy Initiatives has only donated to two Democrats running for office this year, split roughly equally. They have spent $245,000 on Engel’s race according to Open Secrets.

The most charitable reading of this map is that it utterly erases the Palestinians of the West Bank. A less charitable interpretation would be that the map supports the illegal annexation concept. Both are unacceptable! It is worth noting that the map also includes the Golan Heights, which is internationally recognized as part of Syria, although it has been occupied by Israel for years. The map does, however, leave out the Gaza Strip, which is apparently left in Palestinian hands.

The map on the left is from the mailer in question. It clearly shows the West Bank and the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. The map on the right corrected identified this land as separate from the state of Israel.

To be clear, the Engel campaign did not send this mailer. That said, it is clearly a pro-Engel mailer. In fact, they even decided to use the same exact shade of blue from the Israeli flag on the map to highlight Engel’s name, a carefully hidden subliminal message. Bowman’s name is highlighted in a different shade. As such, it is incumbent upon him to call out Avacy Initiatives, renounce their support, and demand that they apologize for sending out this mailer! Additionally, Engel should make it clear that he opposed any further annexation of Palestinian lands and reconsider this unconditional support for continued U.S. funding to the Israeli military.

If you support this call for Engel to renounce this map and mailer, please share this article on social media today!

Ron Widelec is a history teacher in NYC and progressive activist living in Westchester. He is also a Jewish American and dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel.

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