It was a lose/lose situation from the beginning. And that’s the way they planned it. They never meant for it to be anything less than a media circus – and all at the expense of Israel – the country they love to hate and are determined to vilify.
Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were set to make a powerful negative statement about Israel, using the power of their own Congressional positions to do it. Omar dropped out of the picture early, after their planned trip to Israel was canceled by Israel, which refused their entrance into the country. We already knew how nasty Omar can be, but Tlaib now showed her true colors as well and they are all ugly.
Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar #skipthetrip
So let’s go back to the beginning. The first thing the two of them did at the beginning of the summer was to refuse to join 72 of their fellow freshmen in Congress on a trip to Israel. The trip was sponsored by AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), a large lobbying group that promotes Israel to the movers and shakers in Washington.
The AIPAC trip has been a tradition for many years and this year, 41 Democrats and 31 Republican freshmen Congressmen and women, led by House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), went together to experience, many for the first time, some of the realities of life in this tiny country, which has been beleaguered and terrorized by its neighbors for the entire 72 years of its existence.
That Congressional delegation toured Israel’s borders and the participants saw firsthand Israeli innovations in the areas of defense, agriculture, technology, medicine, and water reclamation. Had Omar and Tlaib been in that group, they would also have met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, among others.
But noticeably absent from this Congressional group were three members of what is known as “the Squad”. Omar, Tlaib, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez refused to join their colleagues on this trip, and Omar and Tlaib announced that they would be taking their own – independent – trip later in the month. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave no excuse, but she knows everything, of course, so there was nothing here for her to learn, even though she has admitted that the Middle East was not an area of her expertise.)
So instead of joining their colleagues, the two Muslim Congresswomen opted to take their own trip, sponsored in part by an organization called “Miftah”, a Palestinian organization led by the notorious Hanan Ashrawi, who was once spokeswoman for Yasser Arafat, the terrorist leader of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization), and who just this year was herself denied a visa to the U.S.
Their itinerary said plainly that their trip was going, not to Israel, but to the fictional country of “Palestine”, a place that exists in name only. That name is one of the lies that Tlaib and Omar have been proudly telling since they found their voices in Congress.
The NGO Monitor wrote about Miftah and the proposed trip, “While we do not support policies that would block these U.S. lawmakers from entering, we note how they exploit their standing to partner with groups such as Miftah, that promote anti-Jewish hate and advocate against peace and coexistence, as well as at least one NGO linked to the PFLP terror group, the so-called Defense for Children International-Palestine.”
Miftah notoriously once published the ancient lie accusing “the Jews [of using] the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.” This particular blood libel goes back to the Dark Ages of Europe when, although the accusation had zero connection to reality, countless numbers of Jews all across Europe were murdered because of it. And while Miftah later published an apology and blamed the article on an inexperienced staffer, the damage had already been done.
Not unexpectedly, the mainstream media whitewashed the trip and its sponsor. About Miftah, the Washington Post wrote, “Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank was planned by Miftah, a nonprofit organization headed by Palestinian lawmaker and longtime peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.”
The New York Times, a notorious purveyor of fake news, called it an organization “headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker.” On its editorial column, the New York Times editorial board collectively described Miftah as a group “that promotes ‘global awareness and knowledge of Palestinian realities.’”
The truth lies elsewhere. Ashrawi is a blatant anti-Semite and virulent supporter of Palestinian terrorism, who has been at that game for decades. And the organization works tirelessly to undermine the Israeli government and its policies, in favor of Palestinians and the agenda to “wipe Israel off the map”.
The second group that was linked to the private trip that the two women were planning to take was BDS, (which stands for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” – of Israel). This group, whose founding intention was to destroy Israel economically, as their name makes clear, through international boycotts, divestments, and sanctions, is one that both Tlaib and Omar have both openly and proudly supported.
The BDS movement was founded by Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian whose mission is the total destruction of Israel. He was also the founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) that has tried to discourage the cultural exchange between the academics and artists of Israel and the rest of the world.
Both organizations were created for the sole purpose of destroying Israel. As Barghouti said openly in a speech in Norway in 2013, “A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically… Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
So it came as no surprise that the two Muslim Congresswomen, Tlaib and Omar, who have been so vocal at home about their support for BDS and their opposition to any favorable treatment for Israel, should join with Miftah to plan their own trip, not to Israel to learn about why this country is such a close ally to the U.S., but, as they made clear, to “Palestine”, to reinforce their own beliefs that Israel is guilty of horrendous crimes against the Palestinians, including “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing”. More blood libels.
So these were the bedfellows with whom Omar and Tlaib were planning their controversial visit to “Palestine”.
Then, the government of Israel stepped in and the story changed dramatically. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “[T]he itinerary of the two congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it . . . . In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.”
The Israeli government struggled with the ramifications of either choice, whether to allow the two Congresswomen into the country or not. In the end, after a long, late night session at the highest level of government, they decided to bar Omar and Tlaib from entering the country because of their open support of BDS and their personal hostility towards Israel.
Israel was damned if it did and damned if it didn’t. Either way, Israel would suffer the consequences. And that is exactly what these two toxic Congresswomen had in mind.
If Israel let them come for their visit, the two would spend their time, not learning about Israel, but being schooled by people associated with the pro-terrorist movements against Israel and acquiring ammunition to use against the Jewish state when they returned home.
And if Israel refused to allow them to enter the country, then the propaganda value for the women would be equally valuable, as they would slam Israel for its ‘weakness’ and fear of allowing them in, proving that their so-called democracy was really a sham and that the decision was ‘racist’. And that is exactly what happened.
Israel’s decision was branded as a show of weakness by some prominent people. Had the decision gone the other way, it too would have been branded a show of weakness – by others.
But in fact, Israel’s decision was not a show of weakness at all. It was rather a show of how the rule of law works in a democratic society. Israel was acting according to its own law, passed in 2017, which says explicitly that Israel has the right to refuse anyone entry to the country who has openly supported the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic program of BDS. This wasn’t about politics, and it wasn’t about race. It was about the law, and Israel upheld its own.
Visiting ‘My Sity”
But the story didn’t end there. Because Tlaib has family living in the in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, west of Ramallah, in the West Bank, including her 90-year-old grandmother, the woman she calls “my sity”. So after their request to enter the country was denied, she filed a personal request to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri – on humanitarian grounds – to visit her ‘sity’.
In her letter, she wrote, ““I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
That request was immediately granted.
And then Rashida Tlaib did the unthinkable. She announced that she would not go to Israel after all. Her rationale was, as she put it in a tweet,
“When I won [which is what she apparently considered Israel’s willingness to let her visit on humanitarian grounds], it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.
“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”
Deri responded in kind. He rephrased what Golda Meir once said when she was Prime Minister of Israel: “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate ours”. In this case, Deri tweeted, “Apparently [her request] was a provocation to make Israel look bad. Her hatred for Israel is greater than her love for her grandmother.”
The interesting thing is that even as Tlaib claims to be fighting against “racism, oppression, and injustice”, she uses those same weapons against Israel in her own brand of “racism, oppression, and injustice” and this is the problem that is rampant throughout America today. The double standards that are applied by the left to bolster their arguments employ the very same tactics that they blame on the right, their perceived enemy.
Rashida Tlaib is guilty of the same “racism” of which she accuses Israel. She brands an entire people – the Jewish people – and the people of Israel – of the most heinous crimes, based on a false ethnic and racial construct, and uses the most inflammatory words to describe them. She claims to be a “woman of color” fighting against “white” Israelis. But the basis of her accusation is incorrect and really quite uninformed. Israelis have no ‘racial’ color. In fact, racially, they are white, and brown, and black, like much of the rest of the world. Jews come from all over the world, not only from Europe and Russia, but also from North Africa and Latin America. And their skin color is as mixed as any in the world.
Barghouti has claimed that Israel has “racist, oppressive policies towards the Palestinian people” but Israeli policy has nothing to do with race. For one thing, Palestinians are not a ‘race’. And if the Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank feel confined, it is only because they have created the situation that required confinement.
Terrorism Has Consequences
After the Six Day War, when Israel acquired the West Bank in a war that started when they were attacked by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, they offered the Arabs living there freedom. At first, after the dust of war settled, there was a kind of peace there between the Israelis and the Arabs. I remember because I lived there and travel between the two areas was mostly free and open and safe for a number of years.
But then, the terrorist attacks began again, and little by little they began to require some adjustments that would encroach on those freedoms. The restrictions on the Arabs of the West Bank grew tighter and more repressive, as the rate of terrorism against Israelis grew more violent.
Israel was faced with a quandary: How do you protect your own people when there are others – with free access to your territory – who are ready and willing to come and kill you and your children?
The point is that there are consequences to terrorism. And now, many years and two intifadas later, in which hundreds of Israelis have been killed or maimed in terrorist attacks, the Palestinians, as they call themselves now, complain about the constraints that have been put upon then, and they use words like ‘massacres’, and ‘racism’, and ‘ethnic cleansing’, and ‘genocide’. And they deny the history that the Jewish people have with the land of Israel that goes back several thousand years. They also deny their own responsibility for the conditions that they now must endure because of the actions of their own people, and they justify they anger by pointing to the Jews.
Is Peace Even Possible?
This is not a problem that is going to be solved any time soon. The children of the Palestinians have been indoctrinated to hate Jews. And the terrorist attacks continue.
It does not help that the very people who might be perfectly positioned – in the U.S. Congress – to help in reducing the tension and finding a solution – are the very ones who are only interested in fomenting the violence and encouraging the confrontation.
History repeats itself. The two women in Congress who could help defuse the terrible conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, are making it worse. What used to be said about Yasser Arafat – that he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity – could be said equally about Omar and Tlaib. But instead of rising to greatness through the strength of their commitment to higher principles, they lower themselves into the swamp of prejudice and pettiness.
And what a terrible shame!