Glad You’re Not Coming

Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, all “women of color” known as “the squad,” are the darlings of the mainstream media. Omar (a refugee from Somalia) and Ocasio-Cortez are constantly in the news making bigoted, Jew-hating statements that would never had been uttered in public a generation ago. It’s apparent that the honeymoon from what is genteelly termed antisemitism is over, as the generation that knew the Holocaust gradually recedes from public life.

Two of these bigots, both Muslims who have inherited the anti-Jew gene, recently planned trips to Israel: Representatives Omar and Tlaib. Some hoped that they would educate themselves during this time in Israel by coming with an open mind. Here’s what staunch Israel advocate, Rep. Elliot Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said yesterday:

“It won’t surprise anybody that I have disagreements with Reps. Omar and Tlaib when it comes to Israel. I probably wouldn’t have planned the same trip they did. But as I said to [Israeli] Ambassador Dermer yesterday, it’s a mistake for the Israeli government to bar entry of members of Congress into Israel. If Israel’s government hopes to win the support of American lawmakers across the political spectrum, then this visit could have been an opportunity to share views and make a case for why American support for Israel is so important.

“Instead, refusing entry to members of Congress looks like Israel closing itself off to criticism and dialogue. This decision will only strengthen the anti-Israel movements and arguments many of us find so troubling, further politicize support for Israel in the United States and ultimately play right into the hands of Israel’s enemies. If my two colleagues had seen what I’ve seen over the years, I believe they would have come away with valuable new perspectives. Now they won’t have that opportunity, and it’s a real shame.”
(www.jpost.com/American-Politics/) italics mine

It appears we won’t get a chance to see if Rep. Engel’s wishful thinking would pan out, because after multiple flip-flops, Rep. Tlaib has refused the proffered opportunity to visit her Palestinian Arab relatives. Rep. Omar, who is particularly vicious in her statements about Jews and Israel (always claiming that she “didn’t know” how bigoted her comments are) has been denied admittance here as a proponent of the Israel-hating BDS movement.

Note
“… [the BDS movement is] a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.” (bdsmovement.net) In actuality, the main goal of the BDS movement – which has a growing impact on high school and college aged youth (even Jewish youth) – is the elimination of Israel as a nation state. At best, BDS works to usurp Israel with “Palestine,” leaving the Jews, if any survive, as a hated minority in the larger, Muslim state. This is in contrast to Israel, where 25% of the population are non-Jews, who have all the civil and political rights which pertain to the majority segment.

Ordinarily, blocking entry to visitors to a foreign country is a right of every nation. It is often used to stop persons who are adjudged unsuitable to enter a country. The US and many other countries routinely stop unwanted entrants. Israel has exercised that right at least a dozen times over the last decade. What state would welcome a hater seeking a public platform to spew vicious propaganda that they espouse openly and repeatedly? Why is Israel expected to do this – to gain political support from those who already back it, or to open the eyes of an endemic hater, no matter how unlikely?

A problem seems to be with the fact that Israel is flip-flopping badly on the issue of admitting obvious Jew-haters. But Israel has laws that permit it to block major BDS supporters. Nor should the government’s hesitancy obscure the fact that all four members of “the squad” are legislators who definitely aren’t looking for a fresh perspective on Israel. Instead, they are advocates of the “oldest hatred” who are doing an excellent job of promoting that abhorrence to further their political careers.

Reps. Omar and Tlaib have already had a Congressional resolution aimed at their Jew-hating behavior. Unfortunately, the weak, Democrat-sponsored resolution didn’t mention Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s statements reflecting their hatred of the Jewish State. It also fails to explain that the State Department’s official definition of antisemitism defines hatred and bias towards the Jewish State of Israel as a form of antisemitism.

USA Today, March 7, ‘18: “After debates and delays over the wording of the text, the House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution that broadly condemned hate [not the representatives’ hate speech]. The resolution – which was crafted after freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, made comments critical of Israel that detractors said played to anti-Semitic tropes – passed 407 to 23. All Democrats voted in favor of the resolution, including Omar. Republicans were the only ones to oppose it … But the resolution did not appear to satisfy some Democrats. ‘Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism?’ asked Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Florida, in a speech Thursday from the House floor.”

In mid-August, Rep. Omar put forth a new ‘pro-boycott’ resolution in Congress, “… affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment. The pro-BDS resolution which was cosponsored by Rep. Tlaib and veteran Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), opposes “unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad,” and “urges Congress, States, and civil rights leaders from all communities to endeavor to preserve the freedom of advocacy for all by opposing anti-boycott resolutions and legislation.” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) told The Jerusalem Post that Omar’s resolution should not be taken seriously. (JPost.com) 8/16/19

Regardless of the fact that the Israeli government was not resolute in deciding whether the two Congressional Representatives could enter Israel (yes, no, yes for one – so far), and regardless that the President publicly rebuked Israel for it’s interim decision, the right choice would be to deny entry to all Jew-haters who have no desire to examine the Israel-Arab situation objectively. Falling back on liberal platitudes about gaining new perspectives just gives power to Israel’s enemies.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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