Hey Congresswomen! What About That Oath?

On August 15, when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he was barring entry to Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib given their explicit support of the BDS movement, the airwaves erupted. Some praised his decision, some expressed disappointment, and others articulated harsh criticism. In addition, the Congresswomen launched accusations of racism and Islamophobia and claimed that their rights as American government officials were being violated.

In the wake of all the aforementioned events, many Americans are now struggling with new questions. Given the Congresswomen’s support of the BDS movement, which they wear as a badge of honor, Americans are beginning to wonder about what it means for representatives of the American government to be declared enemies of one of America’s greatest allies. For as many know, while the BDS movement claims simply to be endorsing boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, their ultimate goal is to dismantle Israel and replace it with another predominantly Arab nation.

Indeed, in the days leading up to their anticipated trip to Israel, the congresswomen clearly displayed the goals of the BDS movement by showing total disregard for the Jewish state. For example, as of August 5 (several weeks after Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer had said that Israel would welcome the two Congresswomen), they had shared no details with the Israeli government about who would be traveling with them or when they would arrive. In addition, neither the American Embassy in Jerusalem nor the Israeli Foreign Ministry had seen their itinerary or been contacted to provide logistical assistance or help to arrange meetings.

When they finally released their itinerary, the document referenced “Palestine” without any mention of Israel, reminiscent of the map that Tlaib hung in her Congressional office shortly after being sworn in. Their itinerary also indicated that all of their time was to be with Palestinians in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank, including the contentious spots of Har Ha-Bayit/Al-Haram al-Sharif and Hebron. They showed showed no evidence of meetings with Israeli or Jewish officials to discuss the status of both places, which remain important to both faiths and both peoples.

In addition, after being barred from entry to Israel, Congresswoman Tlaib expressed her urgent need to visit her grandmother. Israel acquiesced based on humanitarian grounds with the condition that Tlaib would not engage in anti-Israel behavior. After initially agreeing to those conditions, the Congresswoman then rejected the offer, suggesting that her intentions were, in fact, to use her position to discredit Israel.

Providing additional evidence of their maleficence toward Israel, the Congresswomen selected the NGO, Miftah – an organization that promotes Jew hatred— to be the organizer of their trip. By doing so, the Congresswomen intended to use American taxpayer dollars to support an organization that published a 2013 article stating that Jews were killing Christian children to use their blood for making matzah, which, despite their “apology” in English after receiving a bastion of criticism, is still readily available in Arabic. They intended to use American taxpayer dollars to pay an organization notorious for praising terrorism and individual terrorists, including Wafa Idris, who injured 150 people and killed one in a suicide bombing, and Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 38 Israelis including 13 children in the suicide bombing known as the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978. Omar and Tlaib intended to support an organization that celebrated all female terrorists who killed Jews on International Women’s Day and that openly publishes content from neo-Nazi organizations, including The National Vanguard…the same organization that is based in Charlottesville, Virginia and that was one of the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally that left one American citizen dead in August 2017.

As Omar and Tlaib have shown us, supporting the BDS movement requires disregarding the alliance between the United States and Israel. But that is not all. The BDS movement claims to be responding to a call from “Palestinian civic society,” which begs the question concerning the nature of the relationships between the Congresswomen, the Palestinian Authority and the terrorist group, Hamas— the two leadership bodies in control of “Palestinian civic society.”

Given that Omar and Tlaib have sworn an oath to defend the American Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” isn’t it high time that the American people explore whether the Congresswomen are, in fact, remaining true to that promise?

About the Author
Melissa Landa Ph.D has been addressing the tactics and goals of the BDS campaign for four years. Most recently, she founded the new organization, Alliance for Israel. The diverse leadership and membership of Alliance for Israel reflects Melissa's teaching and research on cultural competence and anti-bias education as a former Assistant Clinical Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Melissa taught courses about music as a form of social protest in apartheid South Africa (where she grew up) and about attitudes and beliefs about the "Other". She also created and led a University of Maryland short-term education abroad program in Israel that explored the immigration and acculturation experiences of Ethiopian Jews. Melissa earned her B.A from Oberlin College, her M.A. from Tufts University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and is the author of two books, articles in peer-reviewed journals, and numerous op-eds. You can contact Melissa by email: Melissa@alliance4israel.org
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