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By Azad Essa

Israeli President Isaac Herzog may not be an ally to Benjamin Netanyahu or an official part of the Israeli government, but as a representative of the state, he is complicit in the occupation and discrimination of Palestinians.

This is the message from several progressive Jewish American groups to US politicians as Herzog visits Washington, in a trip analysts describe as US President Joe Biden's attempt to showcase that the US-Israel relationship transcends the current disagreements with the far-right government led by Netanyahu.

Herzog's role, widely considered a ceremonial one, has prompted activists to caution against allowing him to be seen as an outsider to the Israeli state and its apartheid policies towards Palestinians.

"His role in this moment is to prevent international accountability for Israel's actions at a time when accountability is the only thing that can possibly stop not only Netanyahu's current authoritarian takeover, but decades of illegal occupation and apartheid," Eva Borgwardt, political director of IfNotNow, a movement of American Jews organising their communities to end US support for Israel's apartheid system, says.

"As he has done for years, Herzog is calling for endless negotiation and compromise with extremists while judicial overhaul and brutal and violent repression of Palestinians in the West Bank march ahead," Borgwardt told Middle East Eye.


On Tuesday, the New York-based Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) said they supported Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez's - local representatives - decision to steer clear of Herzog's address.

JFREJ described Herzog as a more "palatable representative to cover up the violent reality on the ground".

"Israel's occupation and apartheid policies predate this extremist government. Herzog is a representative of the state responsible for those policies as they continue to escalate," Audrey Sasson, JFREJ's executive director, told MEE.

"He does not deserve a warm welcome in Congress," Sasson said, adding that it was their responsibility as Jews and constituents of Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez to "have their backs and make clear that this is an authentic and legitimate position inside our Jewish communities, as well as beyond it."

Read the full article at Middle East Eye