Dear Rashida

Girl, you confuse me.

You want to come to Israel, oh sorry I mean Palestine.

You could have come last week with 40 members of the Democratic Party, but nah, you’re a member the of esteemed “Squad,” so making headlines and preaching (a warped version of) “equality” is vital.

Your trip was organized by Miftah, a group that has praised suicide bombers, published a blood libel accusation (in an article from 2013 condemning Obama for hosting a seder at the White House so they ain’t too fond of left wing America either), and is a devoted BDS supporter.

Your itinerary for your trip to Israel, was nothing but a disservice to you and your followers as it only provides a large window into a horrific conflict, but not even a glimpse of unity and love between the two sides. You said on the Skullduggary podcast in May you look forward to speaking to regular Israeli citizens on the ground. Interesting, as most of your time would have been spent in areas in which “regular Israeli citizens on the ground” are forbidden to enter…

Under pressure from his best friend Trump (who yes, has been abysmal to you), Netanyahu barred you and Omar from entering the country. Something that I believe will continue to severely wound the strong relationship between Israel and America, along with being a massive PR fail.

If you stopped there, I wouldn’t agree with you, your trip, your objectives or your stances, but I would understand your frustration. I would be able to rationalize where you are coming from. I would have to try quite hard to be sympathetic though, so don’t get too excited.

But, after all, you’re a Squad-ers so the PR stunts continue. Can’t stop, won’t stop, eh? (I’m sure AOC taught you some old school Miley).

You were then granted the right to enter on humanitarian grounds to visit your 90-year-old grandmother you haven’t seen in years and refuse the visa to simply prove a point.
To show the world how Israel is an oppressor.

Depicting a distorted image of my country is more important to you than visiting your grandmother.

Rashida, if my grandmother was in the heart of Iran (no worries, she’s currently in Modiin most likely at Aroma complaining about the heat), a country who has vocally stated their intentions to annihilation my nation and my people, and Iran gave me a visa to visit her, I would go. (I would also get her the hell out, but I guess that’s another story). I would go even though I don’t believe in the country’s oppression of women, homosexuals, etc. If I have the opportunity to visit an elderly relative and maybe do some good for the people in that country along the way, I’m there.

I am by no means comparing Israel and Iran, but rather saying family ties are too important to involve political standings.

Not visiting your grandmother to prove a contorted point is pathetic. I can’t think of a better word than that.

Rashida, I find you manipulative, a fabricator and genuinely question your version of equality (I actually suggest you start stating who deserves your equality and who doesn’t, just to make it clear for people where they are on your spectrum. Political correctness doesn’t work and especially when you’re, well, you…).

Your behavior reminds me of that crazy girlfriend we are all guilty of being at some point (or many points #NoShame).

You want your boyfriend to do/ tell you something he isn’t doing/ telling you and then when he does/ says it, he said it wrong, or you didn’t like where he said it, or you wanted him to say it at 8:07 and not at 8:09, so you put up a fight on the basis of him doing/ saying the exact thing you wanted but not in the picture perfect way you envisioned. (Good call, right? I know, I’m also proud of it).

Israel has given you what you wanted.
Was it done well? No.
Was the Trump/ Netanyahu gang fair? Hard no.
But you got what you wanted.
So instead of inciting hateful rhetoric and spending Shabbat with fellow pro-BDSers who happen to be Jewish, go to Israel, and see your grandmother and maybe speak to the average Moshe’s and Mohamed’s while you’re at it.

Ultimately, it’s the people on the ground living their lives who can tell you what’s up.

I guarantee you babes, a trip organized by Miftah (and nor is a trip organized by an extreme right wing Israel group for that matter) isn’t going to give you that balanced image you claim to the public you’re seeking.

You said in May while on the Skullduggery and discussing your upcoming trip to Israel (which you’ve since made a scene and then cancelled), “this is not about choosing sides, this is about choosing values.”

Rashida, you not coming, and furthermore refusing to not visit your grandmother is choosing a side.

If you cared about the values you preach — humanitarianism, morals etc. — you would be at your grandmother’s home right now and taking in the facts on the ground in the West Bank while speaking to people. Regular people who will have to cut the conversation short because their kid just fell off a scooter or their falafel order is ready to be picked up

I am happy for you that your apparent objective of making a name for yourself under the guise of anti-occupation is working, but your name among people who truly seek out equality for all (yes, ALL) in a genuine and realistic way is rapidly imploding.

Maybe one day you will love the cause you claim you are fighting for more than you love yourself and the next election.

About the Author
Lottie Kestenbaum was born to British parents and grew up in New Jersey. To add to the identity crisis, Lottie made aliyah in August 2012. Hello tri-citizenship! She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University and living in Jerusalem. Yes, it is a shlep. No need to mention it :-)