The United States under President Dwight Eisenhower (R-KS) worked to build Israel, a Jewish country tucked into the Middle East hotbed while displacing Palestinians. President Eisenhower also considered Alaska as an alternative location. That choice is an interesting exercise of imagined opportunities — but futile, of course. As usual, Donald Trump blundered into another situation involving Israel and two congresswomen, causing a major problem.
Freshmen members of Congress both Democratic and Republican have traditionally gone to Israel to get a broader understanding of the country. For the past week, about 70 new lawmakers have been visiting the close American ally.
In the meantime, Donald Trump had been pressuring Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) entry into the country. The prime minister agreed after Trump tweeted:
‘Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!’
As a result of the president’s continual barrage of insults against Omar and Tlaib, the number of death threats against them has soared, and capitol police have increased security for them.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) financed their trip. BDS is a movement that supports an end to international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressures Israel to comply with international law.
Trump’s ambassador to Israel David Friedman released a statement calling the boycott movement, according to The New York Times:
‘[N]o less than economic warfare [and Israel had] every right to protect its borders.’
Other presidents have not involved allies against their own domestic political adversaries, Trump stumbled right across that line. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted his formal notification about the matter on Facebook:
‘A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress. However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.’
The pro-BDS organization, Miftah, was financing their trip. The Israelis consider Miftah’s members supporters of terrorism against Israel.
The prime minister continued:
‘No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel. As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country. In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member ofKnesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.’
It was obvious that the Israeli prime minister was standing with Donald Trump:
‘Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.’
Netanyahu took a page from Trump’s playbook, hanging the blame upon someone else:
‘The minister of interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as prime minister, support his decision.
‘Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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