Whether Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu realizes it or not, he has just made the struggle against antisemitism (including anti-Zionism) more Sisyphean than it would have been otherwise. And it was never an easy task to begin with. His comments on Trump’s proposed wall between the US/Mexico border are a new diplomatic nadir, even for him. Not only did he praise Trump’s odious idea, he even compared it to Israel’s own southern border. In short, he essentially compared undocumented Mexican immigrants to Palestinian murderers emerging from sewer holes to kill as many Jews as they can find.
This diplomatic blunder hasn’t gone unnoticed by Mexicans either. Many of the responses I saw were indignant, and often blatantly antisemitic. Most of the rest came from pro-Israel Mexicans who (understandably) felt betrayed by his remarks. Granted, the Mexican government hasn’t exactly proven itself a loyal ally to Israel – they did support the odious UNESCO resolution denying our indigenous ties to Jerusalem, after all – but I vividly remember a swelling of support from Mexicans (often accompanied with “God Bless Israel and the Jewish people”) and loud condemnations of their government after the vote took place. Yes Bibi, these are the people you’ve hurt. You’ve done incalculable damage not only to Jewish-Mexican relations, but to Jewish-Latino relations as a whole. And for what?
Never mind how offensive this is to Jews, especially those who have experienced Palestinian terror first hand. I remember visiting Israel when I was 14 (the Second Intifada started just a few days after I arrived) and nearly being blown up in an ice cream shop because someone decided to “martyr” himself next door. That was my one (and hopefully only) experience with Palestinian terrorism, which brings me to my point: when have Mexican immigrants (undocumented or otherwise) ever done something like this to American civilians? When have they ever come into this country with the intent of stabbing or blowing up innocent people? Not once. Israel faces REAL threats on its borders, especially the border it shares with Gaza (although whether he meant the Gazan border or the Sinai one isn’t clear – either way, it’s an odious comparison). America is not threatened at all by Mexican immigrants. There is just no comparison.
I understand that we are desperate for allies, but we must remain cognizant of our morals and, above all, our integrity. Zionism is an indigenous rights cause, and solidarity with other indigenous peoples is of paramount importance. Just as we managed to liberate our lands, and ourselves, from colonial rule, I believe it is incumbent upon us to stand with indigenous peoples everywhere. Our natural allies are Mexicans, a people with whom we share many commonalities, not the white nationalist oaf occupying the White House. By aligning ourselves with Trump, we have betrayed fellow indigenous peoples and strengthened the notion that Zionism and colonialism are one and the same.
Bibi, fighting antisemitism is hard enough as it is. You’re not making it any easier for us. Either stop being a sycophant for Trump’s administration, or step aside.