Much has been made of Israel’s banning two Muslim congresswomen, U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, from visiting Israel. Few, however, have been talking about the other members of Congress who actually went.
It is customary for first-term members to visit Israel. These trips are typically organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Israeli advocacy organization, or one of its branches. As reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency earlier this month, “Steny Hoyer, the Democratic House majority leader who is known for his close ties to the pro-Israel community, is leading a larger-than-usual tour of the country after a season of Israel tensions in the caucus. Hoyer’s office on Aug. 4 announced that he will take 41 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week” on a trip “sponsored by the American Israel Educational Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”
As for the banning of the two Muslim congresswomen by Israel, it was reported in the New York Times to have come “under intense pressure from President Trump.”
Let me start by saying this: Spare me your shock and awe. Drop the charade that “this ban is going to hurt the image of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East.’ ” I know it is complicated, but here is the simpler version:
A white-nationalist president who is busy banning Muslims and people of color from entering his country has pressured another head of an apartheid state to ban two Muslim congresswomen of color. Each of them is the worst symbol of white nationalism to come to power in his nation since the beginning, when white European settlers came to the two countries.
Many people have been banned from entering Israel. Millions of Palestinians have been denied the right of return. Since the beginning, Israel was a white European settler project that took the lands and rights of the native people of color.
America supported the white nationalist project in apartheid South Africa, which was inspired by Hitler’s Nazism, which was inspired by white racist America. We tolerated Hitler and in the beginning were willing to work with him, even turning away Jews fleeing Europe.
President Donald Trump; the racist in the White House, earlier asked Tlaib to go back where she came from. Then, when she decided to go visit her 90-year-old grandma in occupied Palestine, he asked his hit man in Israel to deny her entry. So the question is now, who is going to speak for the vulnerable Palestinians in this country?
Prepare yourself to be shocked and outraged at the dangerous and radical lengths that Zionist propagandists go to in order to foster a positive image for Israel in the Western world while subjecting Palestinians to the harshest occupation of our time. Using subversive psychological techniques, the Zionists employ language to cover up their crimes against the Palestinian people. We are accustomed to the media justification for the overwhelming bombing and killing of Palestinians: “Israel has a right to defend itself.”
The truth is that Israel is an occupying force and the occupied Palestinians have a right under international law to resist the occupation.
In a New York Times column supposedly critical of Israel (“If you think Trump is helping Israel, you’re a fool”) Twin Cities native and big-idea man Thomas Friedman complained, “I am particularly unhappy with Representative Omar ... I know that more than a few Somali immigrants in Minneapolis, who face so many challenges — from gang violence to unemployment — are asking why is Omar spending time on the West Bank of the Jordan and not on the West Bank of the Mississippi?”
First of all, Omar is an American congresswoman who was elected by a more than just Somalis. And she is a member of Foreign Affairs Committee, and that’s what they do there — they look into foreign affairs. Especially our relationship with a foreign country to which we give billions of dollars of aid to bomb and occupy, while supporting the worst dictators in the area.
Lots of pundits are trying to paint Tlaib, Omar and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the radical left who are going to bring down the Democrats. The party has been kidnapped by the Wall Street Democrats — Clinton, Obama, Biden and Harris — and needs to be shaken up. Tlaib and Omar and the rest of “the Squad” are shaking up American stereotypes of blacks, Latinos, Arabs and Muslims. They are particularly shaking up the demagoguery of Trump. They are the kinds of people who keep Trump and his white-nationalist supporters up at night … tweeting nonsense.
Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show BelAhdan. He grew up in a small village in Egypt. He blogs at Notes From America (www.ahmediatv.com) and is working on a documentary, “The Coptic Grave.” On Twitter: @ahmediaTV.