Troubling Views – Anti-Israel Tweets
Anti-Israel tweets surface from Democratic
running mate for Michigan governor.
Garlin Gilchrist, the running mate of Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, has come under fire for Twitter posts from almost a decade ago, supporting Hamas and demonizing those who kiss “Israel’s ass.”
“I’m suck [sic] of politicians and Evangelicals kissing Israel’s ass regardless of what they do in the name of ‘defense’,” Gilchrist posted on Jan. 4, 2009.
“Obama speaking could be the signal the beginnig [sic] of a new American approach; an end to the ‘Israel-can-do-no-wrong’ approach,” Gilchrist wrote two days later.
Gilchrist added, “Hamas is a legitimately elected party that only rose to power b/c of Israeli aggression & Western complicity/enablement.”
In a telephone interview with the Jewish News, Gilchrist admitted, “When I made those tweets in 2009, I didn’t have all the context related to Israel that I should have.”
Gilchrist met with leaders from the JCRC/AJC last week. “We had a great conversation, and I’m looking forward to building relationships in the Jewish community and gaining more understanding about Israel. I definitely believe Israel has the right to exist and defend itself. And I know it’s important for Jews around the world to have this land as a life raft in case of persecution.”
News of Gilchrist’s tweets followed reports that Whitmer declined to take a stance or denounce the BDS movement at a recent townhall event.
“I recognize the fundamental rights are that we have the right to speak,” Whitmer said in response to a question on BDS, according to a recording of the event acquired by the Washington Free Beacon. “No one gets to infringe on those rights on my watch.”
Democratic strategist Aaron Keyak said, “The BDS movement should be an easy one to condemn. The answer wasn’t as clear as it should be, but I bet she’s clearer the next time.”
In an Aug. 31 press release to the Detroit Jewish News from Whitmer’s campaign, she provided a clearer answer: “I am 100 percent opposed to BDS.”
The statement went on to say: “In the State Senate, I proudly sponsored resolutions to reaffirm the unbreakable partnership between Michigan and Israel. I believe that the BDS movement is an affront to that relationship, and I am 100 percent opposed to BDS. I strongly support the bipartisan anti-boycott legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Snyder last year and will do everything in my power to uphold it as Michigan’s next governor.”
Gilchrist added: “BDS is detrimental to a truly robust peace process.”
Gilchrist also said that he and Whitmer know that Michigan shares a unique relationship with Israel “both because of the vibrant Jewish community here and the amazing partnerships we’ve built, especially around technology.”
Gilchrist, who was the city of Detroit’s first director of innovation and emerging technology, said he’s been “privileged to have had the chance to work alongside Israeli companies.
“Gretchen and I want Michigan to remain an epicenter for Israeli partnerships and deepen and strengthen the relationship we have with Israel,” he added.
As of press time, Whitmer had an 8.2 percentage point lead over Republican gubernatorial candidate and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in the RealClear Politics average.
By: Jackie Headapohl Managing Editor
JNS.org contributed to this story.