The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council is extremely disappointed in Indiana Representative Andre Carson’s statements and actions regarding the recent Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and the circumstances leading up to the attacks.
On May 11, while hundreds of rockets were raining down on innocent Israeli civilians, including family and friends of many in the Indianapolis Jewish community, Rep. Carson chose to participate in an anti-Israel rally in front of the U.S. State Department at which he applauded speakers accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing. When Rep. Carson took the microphone himself, he stated that “this fight” is for anyone who is Black, Latino, South Asian, or Jewish. Let us be clear: Congressman Carson does not speak for the Indianapolis Jewish community. We are not a monolith. We represent Jews in central Indiana who are of Black, Latino, South Asian, Iranian, French, and Israeli descent (and many more).
Additionally, Rep. Carson issued a divisive joint statement on May 10 with two other Members of Congress, which implied Israel was acting as a unilateral aggressor and accused Israel of perpetrating “wanton human rights abuses.” Rep. Carson’s words and actions exhibit an incendiary one-sidedness and a disregard of both history and the facts on the ground.
For several years, JCRC has been communicating regularly and respectfully with Rep. Carson, offering information and context regarding the Middle East, and encouraging him to use his unique position to seek opportunities to build bridges of understanding among his colleagues, similar to the positive relationships we have worked to build locally among the Jewish and Muslim communities in central Indiana. Through this communication, we have asked him to pursue constructive approaches that create an atmosphere conducive to forging a lasting peace through shared society programs, joint economic development, and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, Rep. Carson has largely rejected these approaches and increasingly presented an unbalanced view of the complex reality that exists in the Middle East, which only exacerbates tensions and further separates those who must come together.
We expect more from Rep. Carson than this divisive rhetoric. At the very least, we rightly expect our elected officials to unequivocally condemn Hamas, a globally-recognized terrorist organization that has launched more than 1,000 rockets indiscriminately toward innocent civilians of all faiths and communities – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Bedouin alike. We invite Rep. Carson to issue such a condemnation, to cease his use of divisive rhetoric when discussing the Middle East, and to focus his energy, leadership, and words in pursuit of practical and balanced efforts to help bring about a cessation to the violence.
Aaron Welcher, JCRC Communications Associate