16th August 2019
Ilhan Omar – more support than Trump thinks….
No doubt every dope who sees any criticism of the Israeli government as a trope for anti-Semitism will have a go, but banning US Congresswomen from visiting Israel, really? That is what Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has stooped to this week however. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were banned from entering Israel shortly after US President, Donald Trump said Israel would be showing “great weakness” by allowing them to enter the country.
Kowtowing to the US in the usual fashion, Netanyahu complied saying in a statement following the decision,
“The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel.”
In her own statement following the decision Ilhan Omar expressed outrage that the action could be taken by Israel, under pressure from Trump, and that it was an impediment to her carrying out her legitimate democratic role, stating,
“As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it is my job to conduct oversight of foreign aid from the United States of America and to legislate on human rights practices around the world. The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”
The Israeli position was further endorsed by US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who said the US “supports and respects” Israel’s decision to deny entry to Tlaib and Omar.
“This trip, pure and simple, is nothing more than an effort to fuel the (boycott movement) engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support,” Friedman said in a statement released this week.
The fact that Tlaib and Omar are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress has not gone unnoticed. Trump’s position picks up where he left off last month in criticising the two women, along with Congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, telling them to “go back” to the countries they came from.
The Congresswomen have made no secret of their opposition to the actions of the Israeli government, in defiance of United Nations resolutions by occupying the West Bank and Gaza, or of their support for the boycott movement. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, aims to end international support for Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians, as well as its continued construction of West Bank settlements, a clear violation of international law.
Netanyahu indicated his fear of Israeli human rights abuses being exposed, stating: “They have defined the destination of their visit as ‘Palestine’ and not ‘Israel.’ And unlike all the Democrat and Republican congressmen who have visited until today, they avoided asking for any meeting with any Israeli official, whether in the government or in the opposition.”
In his usual fashion President Trump vented his spleen further over the issue by taking to Twitter and posting,
“They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
The two Congresswomen planned to meet with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and representatives of human rights organisations. They were to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron. Tlaib planned to stay two extra days to visit her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Tahta.
Writing in the US People’s World in July, Chauncy K Robinson concludes her article in defence of Ilhan Omar with the following observation on Trump,
“His aggressive re-election campaign, which uses the tool of white supremacy to divide the nation, would have his base think differently, though. In Trump and the right’s narrative, Omar and anyone similar to her are the “enemy.” But the enemy of what, or whom? That’s the real question. Trump’s “team” is made up of the wealthy who want to preserve the exploitative capitalist system that chokes American and world progress and puts our very planet in peril. For the sake of humanity, we all need to be on the team that opposes him and his rhetoric.”
The full article can be read here