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To mark Jewish Heritage Month, Tlaib celebrates Detroit rabbi arrested in Israel on Passover

"How can we celebrate freedom as these atrocities are committed in the name of Jewish safety?" Alana Alpert said at the time.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at a protest in Clint, Texas, in 2019. Credit: Grossinger/Shutterstock.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at a protest in Clint, Texas, in 2019. Credit: Grossinger/Shutterstock.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) recognized a Detroit-area Reconstructionist rabbi, who was arrested in Israel over Passover, “for her unwavering commitment to social justice and human rights” in honor of Jewish Heritage Month.

“She is an incredible leader in Metro Detroit, and I am proud to stand alongside her as she fights for human dignity for all people,” the member of the so-called progressive “Squad” in Congress wrote of Alana Alpert.

Alpert, who holds ordination from Hebrew College in Boston, has led Congregation T’chiyah “in prayer and protest” since 2014, according to the website of the Reconstructionist congregation in Ferndale, Mich.

She is also the founding director of Detroit Jews for Justice, which Tlaib further noted on Jewish Heritage Month.

“This Jewish Heritage Month, I’m uplifting the incredible work of Detroit Jews for Justice,” the congresswoman wrote. “Their tireless efforts advocating for social justice have made a profound difference in our community. I am so grateful for your dedication to building an equitable, more inclusive Detroit.”

Alpert was arrested in Israel over Passover after she and others tried to cross into Gaza with white flags and bags of rice, and ignored directions from Israeli officers to leave the area.

“The Israeli government is using starvation as a weapon of war against 2.3 million Palestinian people in the occupied Gaza Strip,” stated Rabbis for Ceasefire at the time. “This manufactured famine follows decades of forced displacement, military occupation, and communal subjugation by the Israeli government.” (Alpert is a signatory to an Oct. 20, 2023 statement from the group.)

The group quoted Alpert: “How can we celebrate freedom as these atrocities are committed in the name of Jewish safety?”

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko, a speaker and podcaster of New Haven, Conn., was one of several who accused Tlaib of “tokenizing” Jews.

“Following the Oct. 7 massacre, Alpert stated: ‘As we condemn this violence, we refuse the urge to dehumanize, to rally around any false notion of “sides” or to obscure the roots of this violence,'” wrote Adar Rubin, director of mobilization at End Jew Hatred.

“Rashida is currently trying to scam people by tokenizing an anti-Zionist rabbi, who is loathed by my Jewish community in Metro Detroit as someone who prioritizes partisan progressive politics over the protection of her own people,” Rubin added.

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