I am normally in disagreement with boycotts, banning, or other restricted freedoms, because they are often ineffectual and inadvertently hurt the wrong people. But circumstances often dictate desperate measures. The logical question should always be how necessary and to what end? So as futile as it might seem, I am jumping on the Omar/Tlaaib band wagon and attempt to put some sense into the drama. A drama exasperated by an over enthusiastic media that is prone to elevate nothing into news. But unfortunately Israel allowed itself to be sucked into the Omar/Tlaaib vortex and media circus.
Fact: BDS’s mission in life is to isolate and bring Israel to its knees economically and politically. Most BDS zealots have never set foot in either Israel or been to Gaza, but that does not stop them from spinning. Most are historically ignorant but like sheep cluelessly follow and take on the narrative. Harmless they are not. They are a well oiled organization that recruits on line and offers paying jobs. Check Google. Their lobbying has now infiltrated political parties, parliaments, and as of early 2019; the US Congress.
In 2017, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, in Ontario, Canada, removed wines that display labels “Product of Israel”. The reason? They are wines allegedly produced in Judea and Samaria and not Israel. The LCBO called them “misleading”. What is misleading is the fact that what is now so fondly called “outside the 1967 green line” is an area that Israel won during the six-day war when Arab nations decided to obliterate it. I do not see the rest of the world perturbed by other nations’ war conquests. Are we to go after Italy’s Northern Tirol region and demand they give it back to Austria? A stupid notion, but it brings home the world community’s utter intolerance and bias when it comes to Israel. Keep in mind that boycotts of Israel and its products is straight out of the BDS playbook. Ontario is no exception.
B’nai Brith Canada protested the Ontario wine boycott, and is now challenging the decision in court citing the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement which does not differentiate regions. A staunch BDS supporter in Holland recently attempted to do the same and lobby for a boycott against Israeli wines. He failed miserably and wine bodegas sold out of Israeli wine in matter of hours and days. But these countries are not alone in listening to BDS fanatics and attempt boycotting Jewish businesses and products. The large Berlin department store KaDeWe put a similar boycott on Israeli wines which they eventually had to lift; they were unceremoniously reminded how their store was boycotted in 1930 because the owners were Jewish. They offered an apology.
The above information puts in perspective Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaaib’s political and personal state of mind on Israel. They are proud card carrying members of BDS. To add to the BDS perspective: in May this year, Merkel’s coalition government and the Bundestag in Berlin, formally announced that BDS and affiliated organizations have been identified as anti-Semitic and will not receive any government funding. That was Germany. Yet Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaaib, two vocal rabid anti-Semite US Democrat congresswomen have only been given a timid slap on the wrist by the newly elected Democratic congress in power. They have more or less been left unhindered in their anti-Israel rhetoric. Both have made blatant anti-Semitic vile comments in the past, but both remain unscathed by their behavior.
Among Ilhan Omar’s most insidious remarks was the questioning of congressional Israeli support as divisive loyalty and finishing off by referring to contributors as “Benjamins”. If that was not charming enough, her pal Rashida Tlaaib wrapped herself in the Palestinian flag when she got elected. Talking about split loyalty! Hypocrisy does not get any worse. But despite the temporary outrage by American Jewish organizations, 70% of American Jews still vote Democrat and support the Democratic Party. They seem to uncannily dismiss the anti-Semitic undertone by far left progressives in the party. To be fair, most American Jews find very little in common with either Israel or Judaism. Born and raised in the US, they are Jews by birth but not by choice which leaves them eager to be more American than Jewish. Hence the rising popularity of “reformed” Judaism which aligns itself more with liberal and progressive agendas than the torah!
Israel’s angst with these two women is justified. It brings to mind European soccer. An analogy that might explain Israel’s decision. In recent years, Germany and the UK have banned entry to soccer fans from both countries identified as trouble makers. Both countries found it necessary to protect their assets and their citizens from undue public problems and costs. The decision is based on past behavior and intent of the barred individuals. Israel’s move was no different. Israel was well aware of the agenda that the congresswomen intended to follow and anticipated civic problems and disturbances especially in East Jerusalem and Gaza.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaaib did not hide their itinerary or their intensions. They were not on a diplomatic trip to meet Israeli officials, but on a personal activist agenda. If their intentions were to travel as diplomats they would have accompanied the official Democratic delegation a week ago. Which begs the question: why didn’t they? Their trip was financed by Miftah. Miftah is supposedly a Palestinian initiative toward peace. It goes by the name of Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. Don’t be fooled by the harmless title. Miftah has been known to have ties with terrorist sympathizers. In January 2017, Miftah founder and chairman Hanan Ashrawi described Palestinian terrorists as “resistance”. This is the same “peaceful” and “democratic” organization that in 2013 put out a statement that Jews drink the blood of Christians on Passover. Miftah paid for the congresswomen’s “peaceful” trip. And the world is surprised and indignant that Israel refused them entry?
But putting BDS and Miftah aside, Israel got played. Both women turned up the publicity volume and Israel fell for it. Banning visitors should be every country’s prerogative; but in this instance Israel made the mistake of inadvertently elevating the women to the insidious stature of “martyrs”, and they are milking it. They are getting free press. They are the “oppressed” and Israel fell into the BDS narrative of the “oppressor”. Israel has embroiled itself in a public relations nightmare, made worse by Rashida Tlaaib’s last minute pseudo request to see her 90 year-old grandmother. Most of us know a publicity stunt when we see one. But it worked. Rashida Tlaaib played her hand well. She has since refused the invitation because she indignantly would not subject herself to “racist” conditions. Oh yes, the buzz word of the century; “racist”. A word dropped when nothing else comes to mind. This coming from a woman who hangs around with Ayanna Pressley, another junior Democrat congresswoman and great pal to Farrakhan; the one and only who refers to Jews as “termites”. I guess Ms. Tlaaib has her own interpretation of “racist”. But I digress.
The story will eventually die and be forgotten like yesterday’s bad lunch. The two congresswomen will continue to waive their indignation and victimization for as long as they can like a banner in the proverbial wind. They will continue to incite, object, and insinuate because that’s who they are and what they do. What could have been “a moment” for Israel turned into petulant almost childish indignation. Something I am sure both women were banking on. Israel should have been the adult in the room. Israel should never be afraid of what it stands for. Allowing insidious individuals into the country only shows Israel’s resiliency and conviction that it is an honorable nation with nothing to hide. I would submit that had Israel allowed the women in, there would not have been a “story”. The pinhead main stream media would have been deflated from bloviating and moved on to their regular inane reporting; bashing Netanyahu and Trump.