Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib refused entry to Israel (they relent a bit on Tlaib)

As you probably know, “progressive” Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were refused entry to Israel by the government because they are vocal supporters of the BDS movement, whose aim (though downplayed) is to eliminate the state of Israel by promulgating the “right of return” that will create a single Arab-majority state. Since yesterday, Israel has changed its mind a bit: Tlaib has been allowed entry to visit her family as a special “humanitarian request”. (However, as the AP just reported, Tlaib has decided not to visit her grandmother after all, even after promising not to advocate boycotts during her visit. But now she argues that “she wouldn’t allow Israel to use her love for her grandmother to force her to ‘bow down to their oppressive & racist policies’.” This change of mind is truly bizarre, and suggests that her mission wasn’t to see her grandmother after all.)

 

Here are the two articles:

I can understand the Israeli government’s decision, though I disagree with it. Tlaib and Omar had one purpose in going to Israel: to do down the country, buttress the Palestinian campaign against Israel, and broadcast their criticisms of Israel widely. This was not a “fact finding mission” as neither Tlaib nor Omar had scheduled any meetings with Israeli officials—only, as far as I know, with officials of the Palestinian Authority. Their visit was framed as “visiting Palestine” not “visiting Israel,” already a sign that they don’t recognize the state of Israel. And their visit was, according to the New York Times, underwritten by MIFTAH, an organization that has praised suicide bombers and  promulgated the ancient anti-Semitic blood libel.

You would be foolish to think that their visit had any purpose other than to inflame Palestinian hatred of Israel—giving it the imprimatur of two members of Congress—and to inflame America and the world (through their post-visit propaganda) against Israel. This is on top of the violence currently going on, with three Israelis civilians attacked by knife- or car-wielding Palestinian terrorists in the last few days over the Temple Mount visitation.

By letting Tlaib and Omar in, Israel was certain to have become the object of a big propaganda campaign by these women. This resembles the propaganda campaign of Womens March leader Tamika Mallory, an anti-Semite who visited Israel last year, apparently to deflect attention from her cozying up to bigot Louis Farrakhan by “fact-finding” and then demonizing Israel onsite, as recounted in this Haaretz article (click on the screenshot):

.

And, of course, Israel has the right to bar them, as they regularly bar advocates of BDS on the grounds that the organization is anti-Israel (and, I think, anti-Semitic). Other countries bar inflammatory speakers regularly.

But it’s one thing to have a right to bar people, and another thing to exercise that right. In this case I think Netanyahu made a mistake, though of course this is a judgment call about which I don’t feel strongly. First, his decision to bar Omar and Tlaib came after Trump called for the action, on Twitter of course. If Netanyahu was indeed influenced by Trump, that’s a bad move, for it makes the Israeli Prime Minister look as if he’s in the pocket of Trump—as may well be the case given the shaky Democratic support for Israel. More seriously, it makes Israel look afraid of criticism. Now Tlaib and Omar have criticized Israel plenty from their home in the U.S., but (to me at least), it makes Israel look stronger and more magnanimous if it lets Omar and Tlaib visit, even knowing the propaganda consequences. It is, I suppose, a matter of “optics.” But it’s also a matter of principle—of freedom of speech.

Israel also, of course, had to weigh the possibility that the visit might incite more attacks on Israelis. Propaganda is one thing, lives another.  But I doubt that would happen, at least in the First Amendment sense of Tlaib and Omar “inciting imminent violence”. (Israel would of course have every right to expel Tlaib and Omar if they did call for violence against Israel once in the country.) As anti-Semitic as these two women are, they’re not stupid enough to call for violence.

In other words, to me this is a free-speech issue—the willingness of a country to allow people to visit who they know will criticize it severely once “on the ground.”

But of course Israel couldn’t have won this one. Letting Omar and Tlaib in will inflame tensions in the region and lead to more anti-Israel propaganda. On the other hand, barring them will, as it has already, lead to the Left criticizing Israel for cowardice, as the New York Times did yesterday in an op-ed written by the entire editorial board.

Even columnist Bari Weiss criticized Netanyahu for apparently caving in to Trump’s tweets. As she writes in today’s op-ed, in a piece I agree with:

Consider who came out strengthened from this episode.

The obvious winner is Donald Trump, of course, who tweeted after Israel announced its flip-flop that “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!” Here, nakedly expressed, was his actual goal: Not to protect an American ally from politicians traveling in bad faith, but to yoke mainstream Democrats to their political fringe, as he has been doing, very effectively, for weeks.

Joining him in the winners’ circle are Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib. Say Israel had allowed them, per the original plan, to visit. The upshot would have been a week of bad headlines. But Israel has gotten that tenfold anyway, and the congresswomen managed to come out looking like martyrs.

The losers? Pretty much everyone else.

First, the Democrats, who now have even less motivation to marginalize their anti-Israel fringe and, when they eventually come to power, little incentive to stick their necks out for the Jewish state.

Second, American Jews. It’s a rare day when Jewish conservatives call me to swear about Bibi. More than one did so on Thursday. Meantime, many mainstream American Jewish organizations, including Aipac, the pro-Israel lobbying group, and the American Jewish Committee, issued rare statements criticizing Israel.

Which brings us to the biggest loser of all: The Jewish state. What happened Thursday is going to do so much long-term damage to the bipartisan commitment to Israel. The country has become a partisan wedge in American politics — and that ultimately hurts Israel itself.

The U.S. would look bad if it barred strong critics of America from visiting. Israel isn’t the U.S., of course, as it’s engaged in a bloody conflict with Palestine. But unless Tlaib and Omar were going to incite more violence, barring them was a mistake. As Weiss says, “Israel has gotten [bad headlines’ tenfold anyway.”

 

67 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Barring visitors like this makes Netanyahu (and, thus, Israel) look petty and fearful. It also makes them look likes pawns of the pathetic Orange Menace in the White House.

    A complete fiasco, IMO.

    • BJ
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Just asking out of genuine curiosity: do you feel places like the UK and Canada seem “petty and fearful” when they refuse entry to “pickup artists”? I’d say the agenda of those people was far less harmful to the countries they were trying to enter than the agendas involved here.

      This actually happens all the time, usually for far less controversial opinions/agendas, it just doesn’t get breathless reporting by the media because it isn’t being done by Israel.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        I don’t know what “pickup artists” are. Are they members of Congress?

        • RPGNo1
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          I think, BJ refers to these people.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickup_artist

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Not since Arkansas congressman Wilbur Mills got busted with a stripper name of “Fanne Foxe” in the Potomac tidal basin. 🙂

        • BJ
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          They’re men who supposedly teach other men how to get women. Most of them are just misogynists, though there are a few who legitimately just give tips on how to have more confidence and things like that. But, as the article above notes, the man in question “became possibly the first man ever denied a visa on grounds of sexism.”

        • BJ
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          Sorry, I forgot to add: that was a really good joke 😀

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      In your opinion, did the UK also appear “petty and fearful” when it banned Lauren Southern for having previously distributed ‘Allah is gay’ flyers?

  2. Malgorzata Koraszews
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Rashida Tlaib, who wanted to visit her 90-years old grandmother and asked Israel to let her in on humanitarian grounds, as soon as she got the permission announced that she will not go (is the grandmother less important to her today than she was yesterday?). It really seems that she only desired to embarass Israel again and the grandmother was only a pretext.

    I also don’t understand how this can be a “free speech” issue. It’s not a problem of “criticizing Israel”. Israel lets many critics in and have quite a lot of them inside the country as well, inclusive in Knesset. But why would a country be obliged to let in people who advocate for boycotting this country, and cannot even give it its name, calling their visit “a visit to Palestine”? If somebody refused to use my name and asked all my friends and colleagues to boycott me I wouldn’t let such a person into my house. It wouldn’t in any way curtail this person right to speak freely just not from my house.

    All countries in the world have right to bar entry to their enemies and nobody even notice when they exercise this right. As usual, only Israel….

    As soon as Omar and Tlaib announced their intention to visit Israel (for them: Palestine) Israel was in a lose-lose situation. This way, at least, these two Congresswomen know that a speech has consequences and young Palestinians are deprived of still more people who incite them to violence and to Jewhatred.

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Yes. And of course the name-switch is by definition antisemitic, and implicitly a call for the (violent) destruction of Israel. Usually that would be seen as a diplomatic scandal and an embarrassment for the party the clueless racists belong to.

      Imagine if some wingnut Republican referred to Kashmir as India, or East Timor as Indonesia, and demanded entry with a bunch of NRA activists to fire up a neighbouring terrorist militia.

      • BJ
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Imagine if some wingnut Republican had standing at his side at his swearing in ceremony the leader of a foreign anti-Muslim group that runs schools in the US where kids perform skits about beheading Muslims. Omar did, but it was the leader of a Muslim Brotherhood-funded group, and the beheaded people in the sketches were Jews.

        And not a peep was heard in the media.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I agree that in this case it is a lose-lose situation for Israel. Yet, although Israel fully has the right to bar these obnoxious visitors, I’m not sure whether it was the wise course.
      The PA is much more of an ‘apartheid state’ than Israel. If you’re gay -even a Palestinian gay- you’re better off in Israel than under the PA. Contrary to Israel, the PA sponsors the murder of civilians, etc, etc, etc.
      I’d like to see much more of that on social media. Maybe that visit could have been a good moment to take the social media offensive?

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    This is Bibi pandering to Trump’s puerile petulance, tout court.

    I recall when the Brits were thinking about excluding Trump on the grounds of general asshole-ishness. They relented. Hell, they even gave him a state visit, after a fashion anyway, though they drew the line at letting him and his déclassé clan spend the night in Buckingham Palace.

    • Malgorzata Koraszews
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      2005 US barred Narenda Modi
      2012 US barred a Knesset member
      Quite recently U.K barred Moshe Feiglin (a Knesset memeber and a bit earlier even Geert Wilders, a member of Dutch Parliament.

      These are just a few examples. But when Israel is refusing entry to two antisemitic Congresswomen it must be because of “pandering to Trump” and deserves the world wide storm of condemnation. SHAME!

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      This not Trump being petulant. This is Trump stirring up trouble for the Democratic party. He knows that Omar and Tlaib are a useful wedge.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Oh, I agree. But I see no line between political “strategy” and personal petulance for Donald Trump. They are one and the same.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Israel had decided to allow them to come out of respect for Congress, which is good. Trump’s interference shows his typical ignorance, and a disrespect for Congress. The only way Trump can make himself look big is by trying to make other people look small, unaware that he just looks like a schmuck.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Just heard there’s a movement underfoot to rename NYC’s Fifth Avenue, or at least the portion of it around 56th Street that fronts Trump Tower, as “President Barack Obama Avenue.”

      Can you imagine? Trump would need months of Thorazine treatment just to get back to being sane enough for removal under the 25th Amendment. 🙂

      Maybe they can rename the section of First Avenue that fronts the Bellevue Mental Ward “Donald Trump Avenue.”

  5. Historian
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    We must remember that Tlaib and Omar are members of Congress. They are not your ordinary activists. By denying them entrance into Israel, Netanyahu has made them martyrs. He has now alienated many in Congress, including Jewish representatives, particularly since before Trump’s tweet, Israel had agreed to allow them in. Netanyahu has revealed himself to be a fool that jeopardizes the American-Israeli alliance and further exacerbates the frayed relations between American Jews and his regime. He should have let them in despite Trump’s tweet. The two of them probably would have made inflammatory comments, which would have helped Trump politically. The whole thing would have blown over in a week and Netanyahu would not have looked as a blunderer. An announcement now letting Tlaib in is too little and too late.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Trumps tweet was not a big factor in the decision. The big factor was Omar’s and Tlaib’s discovered itinerary (no Israeli official, no Israeli site) and calling the country “Palestine” as if Israel didn’t exist. Israel would forbid their entry even without Trump’s tweet.

      • Historian
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        “Trumps tweet was not a big factor in the decision.”

        The New York Times has a different view. Perhaps you disagree with it. It notes that “Israel’s decision amounted to a significant reversal. Just last month, its ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said Israel would not bar any member of Congress.” Maybe Israel didn’t learn about the motives of the two for making the trip at that time and then changed its mind. But, there is a larger point here: Netanyahu made a major political blunder because he did not understand the sentiment of Congress, particularly its Jewish members. You can argue that Israel has stood up for a principle. Unfortunately, this stand has done nothing but worsen Israel’s security. Tlaib and Omar have scored a major propaganda coup, a much larger one than if they came back from Israel and made inflammatory comments, no different than Palestinians have made a million times. Appearing as Trump’s today, Netanyahu has hurt himself politically and much worse than that, Israel the nation.

        • Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          +1

        • Malgorzata
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          So, maybe, members of Congress should read what Netanyahu said about the reasons to refuse entry to Omar and Tlaib instead of reacting with their guts.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            Of course Bibi isn’t going to openly admit to pandering to Trump; he’s got to put it in terms of a pretext. It’s not like Bibi’s been a font of probity and personal rectitude.

            • BJ
              Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

              So we should mind-read and assume the worst instead of taking him at what is a very reasonable word? That doesn’t seem like a logical way to consider the issue.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

                The timing of Israel’s volteface on this issue — after Trump’s private lobbying efforts and very public tweets — calls into question Bibi’s (already sketchy) candor as regards this matter.

              • BJ
                Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

                “Calls into question” and presenting it as fact are two different things. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if you had said the timing “called it into question.”

                Sneaky lawyer trick 🙂 I’m just kidding. Did you see my post about those movies in the morning thread? You can answer about them in that thread if you want. Definitely see them if you haven’t.

            • Malgorzata
              Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

              Refusing to calling a country you are visiting by its name; refusing to meet with any official reprezentative of this country; having the whole visit organized by an organization (MIFTAH) which hates this country and was calling for getting rid of all its inhabitants – these are pretexts and not valid reasons for saying to such people that they are not welcome?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

                Even AIPAC begs to differ with Netanyahu on this one.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

                AIPAC often has different opinion than Netanyahu. But it’s not AIPAC who is responsible for Israel. I prefer to look at arguments of people who have to live with the consequences of their decisions. In Israel there are many people who think that the decision was wrong and many who think that the decision was right. Actually, either decision would be detrimental for Israel. There was no “right” decision in this situation because Israel would suffer whichever decision would be taken.

                Israel is not a Western country. Israel is in the Middle East and is surrounded by people with Middle Eastern culture where “honor” is quite important. To allow an enemy to spit you in the eye and then welcome her as a guest is a clear show that you do not have any honor and that you are weak. Maybe Western liberals are outraged at Israel for not allowing Omar and Tliab in but for many inhabitants of countries surrounding Israel it is a show of strength and not weakness.

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      We must remember that Tlaib and Omar are members of Congress. They are not your ordinary activists.

      Goering and Goebbels were members of parliament. They weren’t your ordinary activists, either.

  6. Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Sigh. Israel shoots itself in the foot on this one.

  7. BJ
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    While I personally disagree with Israel’s decision on free speech grounds, it really annoys me how much the media has talked this up. The media didn’t care when, for example, the UK didn’t allow a “pickup artist” to enter the country because of his misogyny, or when Canada did the same. There are numerous examples of this kind of thing, usually for far less than wishing for the destruction of the country in question and using the trip as a propaganda campaign for it, but, once again, only Israel is singled out in the media.

    • Roo
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      The pickup artist wasn’t a congresswoman. Denying a congresswoman access is not only disrespectful, it sets a toxic precedent – that there are “two Americas”, and only one of them is Israel’s ally. We have two parties and multiple viewpoints but we are one country, and we should absolutely be treated that way in all contexts. America is Israel’s ally, and all elected representatives should be treated as allies, period. That conceptual structure is what makes us a unified democracy.

      • Alex Zukerman
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Many (not all) Israelis look at America as if there were two Americas. One is the right-wing Republican America who loves and protects Israel, and the other one is the leftist, the pro-Palestinian Democrats. Obama wasn’t very popular in Israel, and Jimmy Carter is remembered mainly as the one who “took us the Sinai.” Trump is held up by many as a heroic figure, a benevolent father.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          “Trump is held up by many as a heroic figure, a benevolent father.”

          They’ve gotta be pretty bloody desperate then, haven’t they?

          Quite aside from the problem of idolising someone who the rest of the world sees as a bad joke, how long could you trust the benevolence to last? Until the first bus comes along under which it is expedient to be thrown?

          cr

      • BJ
        Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        I don’t see why being a member of Congress should matter. Should they automatically let in dictators? Kim Jong-Un? They’re all members of foreign governments, and of far higher rank at that. If the answer is no, how much hate does a government official need to have either for your country or your people, and how bad does their agenda have to be for your country, before it’s acceptable to bar their entry?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

          You’re blinking the vast diplomatic difference between allies and hostile foreign powers, BJ. Trump has extended official White House invitations to Duterte of the Philippines, to Erdoğan of Turkey, and Orbán of Hungary (among other autocrats), and two of the three accepted. They’ve been much worse for human rights in their own countries than anything Tlaib or Omar might dream of accomplishing by a visit to Israel or the Palestinian territories.

          • BJ
            Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            I think this is a complete deflection from what I said. Not every member of Congress is an ally of Israel. I wouldn’t be angry if the US denied a particularly hateful MP from, say, The Netherlands.

            (1) I would have no problem if Trump didn’t invite the people you mentioned.

            (2) The people you named are elected heads of state.

            But I don’t feel any of this answers the questions I asked in my reply to Roo.

        • Roo
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          I don’t see why being a member of Congress should matter. Should they automatically let in dictators? Kim Jong-Un? They’re all members of foreign governments, and of far higher rank at that.

          This is the moral equivalence argument taken to absolutely postmodern extremes. If you see no difference between a US congressperson and a brutal dictator, then I suppose it logically follows that they should be treated equally as members of foreign governments with a given rank. I very much doubt that almost anyone treats the two as equivalent in actuality, however.

          • BJ
            Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

            OK, if you don’t like those examples, take Ken’s. Would you be angry if the US didn’t allow duly elected heads of state like Viktor Orban to visit? What about The King of Saud or his worst prince? What about Duterte?

            In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway, because Israel passed a law against allowing BDS proponents and agenda-pushing in their country by foreigners months ago, but still.

            • Roo
              Posted August 17, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

              Those are heads of states of countries we have complicated relationships with. An analogous situation would be barring a representative of a country that is a strong ally of the US, based on an unpopular opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, for example. Or, even more analogous would be a far right member of Congress being banned from a very liberal country for being an NRA member or some such thing. And yes, I would have a big problem with that, and I would be appalled if democrats were cheering the decision the way that republicans are cheering this decision. That we lack the basic national unity to support American representatives equally here is upsetting to me. Whether I like your opinion or not, the office of congressperson should mean something.

      • Posted August 16, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        “We have two parties and multiple viewpoints but we are one country. . . .”

        Perhaps you haven’t seen the ubiquitous “IN OUR AMERICA. . . .” signs where you live. Here in Portland, at least, people seem quite insistent that we are not one country.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 16, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          “We have two parties and multiple viewpoints but we are one country …”

          You and BJ sampling the lyrics from “Helplessly Hoping”? 🙂

  8. Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The Democrats should have nipped this racist nonsense in the bud before it undermined their foreign policy platform and party unity, but it’s too late now. Look at what Corbyn has done to the UK Labour Party: split between the non-racists and a newly imported grassroots base of rabid antisemites, who will now also be flocking to the Democratic Party.

    Omar and Tlaib have walked straight into this obvious trap, dragging the Democtaic Party behind it, and they won’t care. The mentality of rabid antisemites like these subordinates everything to the idea of “liberating Palestine” (i.e. handing the Palestinians over to theocratic fascists) and won’t care a huff if moving one step closer to that divides their party and costs it (and the world) the next election — which it will.

    They won’t stop there. The clock is ticking before their stunt.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Tlaib and Omar are first-term congressional backbenchers who’re still trying to find their way to the congressional women’s room, with zero legislative power beyond their own single votes.

      They’re hardly “the face of the Democratic Party,” except in the perfervid imagination of the Trumpist Right. How many of the other 65 freshman Democrats in the House of Representatives (other than AOC) can you name off the top of your head? Each of them is as much “the face of the Democratic Party” as these two.

      • Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure you’re responding directly to me (as it wasn’t me who called them the ‘face of the Dem party’), but in general, I would only underscore your remark about not being able to name the other 65 — I certainly can’t (from here in Europe), but those two have made worldwide headlines, undermined Party leadership, raised the profile of the pathetic and racist BDS campaign just when pushback against as starting to have an effect, and publicly rejected their Party’s stance on it, handed Trump a crowbar with which to prise open a rift between Dem leadership and a large proportion of the left and are helping him push on it.

        None of that is in the interests of the Democratic Party, nor does it have anything to do with US interests, but they’ve pushed it to centerstage anyway. Just like Corbyn in the UK. It will split the Democratic Party exactly.

        It’s already too late to reign them in, and they won’t stop.

  9. Alex Zukerman
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I cannot agree more. As a result of the Israeli government’s decision Israel indeed looks weak and afraid of the anti-Israeli propaganda. But Israel is in fact strong enough to afford the potential damage from Tlaib and Omar’s visit. I have a feeling that those two expected Israel not to let them in and they wanted to use it against Israel. No wonder Tlaib refused to come once Israel finally gave her a permission – her whole plan was not to come. So Israel has just played into their hands.
    Moreover, I am afraid Israel WANTS to look weak and defenceless… but this is another story.

  10. another fred
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I get tired of the charade that these people are not about the destruction of Israel. The existence of a Jewish state in their midst is an affront to them, especially where it is. Had the Zionists established themselves in Uganda the issue would be less important, but only slightly.

    “Justice” in their minds is the destruction of the Jewish state.

  11. Roger Lambert
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    5.8 million Jews barred from Area A.
    5.8 million Jews barred from Jordan.
    5.8 million Jews barred from multiple Muslim states.
    5.8 million Jews barred from the new Palestinian state proposed by Abbas and the Palestinians.

    Not a peep from anyone.

    But two Muslims being barred – that’s a real outrage, right?

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Israeli Muslims banned from Mecca.

  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    But the two Congresswomen refuse to use the name of the country to which they claim to seek admission. Israel should properly send their request for admission to “Palestine” back, stamped “Not At This Address”.

    I am slightly, but only slightly, inclined to agree with our host on this matter, but I have two quibbles. (1) “As anti-Semitic as these two women are, they’re not stupid enough to call for violence.” Not stupid enough? One might be surprised. Rashida Tlaib confided this brilliant thought to an interviewer a few months ago: “And there’s a kind of a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust.” Who knows, if Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel during her visit, she might tell folks about the serenity it made her feel. (2) “The obvious winner is Donald Trump, of course, who tweeted…” Not everything in the universe is about President Tweety.

  13. Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Omar and Tlaib aren’t just critical of Israel, they advocate its annihilation. Israel was correct to deny them entry. Now that Tlaib is not visiting her grandmother — the humanitarian grounds for admitting her — she should be expelled.

  14. Aaron
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a “right” to bar BDS advocates, it is an Israel law passed in 2017. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/world/middleeast/israel-knesset-vote-boycott-bds-reform-judaism.html) Israel was enforcing this law. Why did you exclude this from your post? (Or, why are journalists excluding this important piece of information from all the articles you read during your research?)

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I meant by “right”. I knew that already. And it makes no difference. I could have said Israel by law can bar BDS advocates from entry.

      I don’t know what you’re implying here, but it seems unsavory to me.

      Let me ask you a question: why do you care about this? On second thought don’t bother to answer.

  15. Historian
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Columnist Thomas Friedman, who I don’t always agree with, has made some insightful comments on how dangerous and reckless what Trump and Netanyahu have done.

    These are Friedman’s main points:

    —————-
    “Trump’s way of — and motivation for — expressing his affection for Israel is guided by his political desire to improve his re-election chances by depicting the entire Republican Party as pro-Israel and the entire Democratic Party as anti-Israel.”

    “As a result, Trump — with the knowing help of Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — is doing something no American president and Israeli prime minister have done before: They’re making support for Israel a wedge issue in American politics.”

    “Few things are more dangerous to Israel’s long-term interests than its becoming a partisan matter in America, which is Israel’s vital political, military and economic backer in the world.”

    ——————–
    Israel has retained its American support because it has been bipartisan. That is now in jeopardy because of Trump. One can expect such idiocy from Trump. It appears that Netanyahu fell into the trap. If American support for Israel should diminish or disappear, the country’s survival will be in severe jeopardy. Netanyahu’s apologists should realize this. Moral posturing about Israel’s right to keep the two out is another example of purism that is totally counterproductive.

    • Posted August 16, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Good article and comment!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Friedman can be kind of a clumsy, master-of-the-obvious doofus a lot of the time, but he’s right-on in this piece.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      “Israel has retained its American support because it has been bipartisan. That is now in jeopardy because of Trump.”

      Like many, many other issues. Is there *anything* that tRump can’t ruin or make worse?

      cr

      • Posted August 16, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Trump cares only about Trump. Like the proverbial bull, he cares nothing about the china shop. He seems to think he can win re-election by driving the Jews away from the Democratic party. On this, he greatly mis-estimates US Jews as single issue voters. My biggest fear is that his cynical poisonous actions and Netanyahu’s foolish complicity will endanger the long-term commitment of the US Congress to Israel, a commitment that is vital to Israel.

    • Steve Gerrard
      Posted August 16, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think this one event will “poison” or “jeopardize” the US-Israel relationship, but ten more like it certainly could. Hopefully it is not a new trend.

  16. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    No surprise that Tlaib wont visit her grandmother, this sort of compromise would mar her raison d’être as a persecuted, marginalized and aggrieved person. Of course, it’s all the fault of the Jews!

  17. Posted August 16, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Tlaib has been allowed entry to visit her family as a special “humanitarian request”. 
    This seemingly means nothing in this point scoring.
    Human concern for another, when this means zero to political jerking about, it makes them all look like a bunch of deserving twats.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    tRump should be banned from Tw*tter. He emits the sort of petulant tweets that would be rightly ignored if they came from a bratty teenager.

    I’m not a fan of Israel, but they were in a no-win situation (even before tRump twitted). On balance I think they should have let Omar and Tlaib in.

    After tRump’s tweet I think the reasons for letting them in were stronger. If Omar/Tlaib had then stirred things up, they would have been confirming tRump’s attack, and appearing to betray Israel’s good faith in letting them in – both of which they may have wished to avoid. But also, it would have made Israel look more reasonable and tolerant than Donald tRump, and independent of him – always a good look. As it is, Israel looks like tRump’s puppet.

    cr

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 16, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    “The U.S. would look bad if it barred strong critics of America from visiting.”

    It has certainly barred strong critics of US policy from going abroad. For example, Linus Pauling, as recounted in Watson’s The Double Helix, who couldn’t travel to a scientific conference in the UK. And yes, it does make them look spectacularly bad. Always.

    (This applies to other countries too, of course).

    cr

  20. Posted August 17, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Bill Maher had a good 30 second rant last night — “BDS is a bullsh*t purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class. It’s predicated on this very shallow thinking, that the Jews are mostly white and Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct and the Jews must be wrong. As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied — forget about the intifadas and the suicide bombings and teh rockets and how many wars…” And quotes the founder of BDS saying no Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.


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