Yessir, Mr. Trump!
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Great names. In most ‘western societies’, we’re getting used to using unpronounceable names. That’s progress. And when they reach leading positions in their adopted countries, like the many Arabs who have succeeded in Israeli society, they should be thankful for the system that made this a reality.
It’s more than progress; it’s the truer meaning of democracy. We in Israel face daily attacks by some of the Arab members of the Knesset. In the neighbouring Arab countries, such anti-government hatred would be denounced as treason, with frightening consequences.
Israel’s decision to ban these 2 US members of Congress is proving to be very debatable. We were surprised when we heard the news. All signs had been that we were going to allow them in. And the reason for the change of heart?
Mostly pressure from Mr. Trump. He had implied that Israel would show weakness by allowing the pair in. There’s the debate. The partisan gap in the US is widening. Trumps reasons for opposing these 2 (and 2 others) is for their very socialistic views, including their apparent hatred for Israel.
Of course, the likelihood is that we would lose both ways. International public opinion is so against us, that we would have had difficulty handling the propaganda machine. But we should have tried. There is so much we could have done.
Their agenda is unfortunately very clear. Stay away from Israelis, certainly far away from Jewish politicians. Ilhan and Rashida will be visiting the latter’s family in the West Bank, Palestinian leaders and supporters of the BDS (Boycott) movement.
Without hope of success, we should be publicly inviting them to Israel….
Get them to meet our prettiest politicians; we might have won that one.
Also our Arab members of the Knesset, who may have anti-Israel views like they, but can only voice their views because they live in a democracy.
Meet Palestinian leader Abbas, who is in the 13thyear of his 4-year term. We could have had fun with that mathematics lesson.
Meet the Israeli Arab supreme judge who put away the Israeli President for sexual misconduct. (Very few non-Arab countries can claim that; and if it were an Arab country, that President would likely still be President, or would have been executed).
Visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum: a must on any visitor’s calendar. It illustrates the most important aspect of Israel’s ‘Raison d’être’.
Unfortunately, the 2 congresswomen would not have been among the 99% of Israeli visitors who come away with the words “I never thought it would be like that!”
They could have met Gershon Baskin, the extreme left-wing individual who has dedicated his life to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together, mainly under Palestinian terms. The rightist English-language daily, Jerusalem Post (we only have 2 – the other Ha’Aretz has great writers, but such ultra-left views – like NY Times and the UK’s Guardian) published an article by him yesterday.
It focused on the upcoming Israeli elections and the need to think (as he does).
I wrote today this ‘Letter to the Jerusalem Post’:
Gershon Baskin (‘Israel’s most crucial elections’, Aug. 15) has fallen off the left edge. It’s understandable that the Jerusalem Post publishes his views, like the snobby club that has its nominal Jewish member. It’s certainly a guarantee that you’ll get letters from people like me – anyone to the right of Baskin.
There’s so much wrong with the article, that it’s hard to know where to start. Baskin’s repeated mention of Naqba clearly reminds us of his views. That important day in 1948 was an excellent example of democracy, a word that the Palestinians have trouble accepting.
Baskin still uses the A word. 71 years of open democracy in Israel proves that the word is misused to say the least. If 2-state means for Baskin 1 democratic state and another like Gaza, then that’s his problem. We’re waiting for the day when ‘the Occupied Territories’ can become another democratic state.
That may take forever. But we’d rather wait.
Just to remind you: Naqba is the Arab word for ‘catastrophe’, their word for the day the State of Israel was established. And the ‘A’ word, so often used by Tlaib and Omar, is ‘Apartheid.
Ask the few thousand Christians surviving in Gaza (there are no Jews) what Apartheid means to them. Or better, ask the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan what Apartheid means to them. No full citizenship, after 71 years. No land ownership rights. Just a promise of assistance to return to the land of Israel.
As I’ve written so many times, there may be many things wrong with Israel society – as is the case for Sweden, Australia and Fiji etc. But most of the criticism is based on ignorance and lies. When 2 supposedly intelligent persons come to this area of such tragic conflict, they need to come with a clear mind. As this is clearly not the case, I suppose it’s right to bank their entry.
But it’s a shame. An opportunity is being missed. Both sides will lose.
August 15, 2019