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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Omar and Tlaib RIGHTLY BLOCKED From Visiting ‘IMAGINARY’ Palestine
Getty Images; Shutterstock Michael Goodwin
At first blush, Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib looked like a mistake. My gut reaction was that the move would simultaneously make Israel appear weak and allow critics to claim the incident proves the Jewish state has no interest in peace with the Palestinians.
It didn’t help that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had initially signaled the two Democrats could visit despite their support for the BDS movement, which Israel has outlawed. When it became clear that Netanyahu reversed his decision at President Trump’s urging, the situation appeared to go from bad to worse.
Both the United States and Israel looked to have blundered. Or so I thought.
Then facts and history had their say. Now, I believe Trump and Netanyahu made the right move.
They had no good options and chose the lesser of two evils.
First, the facts are becoming more clear. Omar and Tlaib, we now know, rejected invitations to travel with other congressional members of both parties. Trips were organized by AIPAC to give new members briefings on security issues and include political perspectives from the government as well as critics.
The congressional groups there last week, for example, met with Israeli leaders and Palestinians in the West Bank. Why wasn’t that good enough for Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress?
In addition to wanting to go alone, they reportedly refused any government briefingsand Netanyahu said their itinerary mentioned only “Palestine,” a country that doesn’t exist and a word often used to deny Israel’s right to exist.
According to National Review, the group that planned Omar and Tlaib’s trip, MIFTAH, runs a Web site that publishes anti-Semitic articles and celebrates Palestinian terrorists, several of whom murdered Jewish children. The link guarantees that the trip would have been a nonstop assault on Israel.
It also could have led to violence. The two planned to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located atop the compound known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims and Temple Mount to Jews, where there were clashes last week between Israeli security forces and Palestinians.
Omar and Tlaib likely would have made provocative statements there, leading some Israelis to fear a larger round of violence. Why take that chance?
A final fact that colors the entire incident was the odd behavior by Tlaib regarding her supposed desire to visit relatives in the West Bank.
After Netanyahu’s rejection, she appealed to Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri for permission to visit on humanitarian grounds, citing her elderly grandmother. “This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote. “I will respect any restrictions and not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
On those terms, Israel granted Tlaib permission to visit her family.
But when news of the agreement became public, some on the left accused her of caving in to Israel. Immediately Tlaib backed out and attacked Israel, tweeting that the conditions she agreed to were “humiliating” and adding, “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”
Deri got it exactly right when he concluded that Tlaib’s “hatred of Israel outweighs her love for her grandmother.”
History proves that Israel is often held to a double standard, and this case is no different. Virtually every nation bars entry to those who wish it harm, yet it’s an international incident when Israel does it.
Denunciations from the usual suspects are a reminder that Israel would have gotten no credit if it had opened its doors. Tlaib and Omar were not going in good faith.
Why is the burden on Israel to welcome them? Put another way, when did suicide become a virtue?
The fact that the two are members of Congress adds a complication, but not one big enough to overcome their long virulence and the potential for violence. They hate Israel and have made anti-Semitic statements.
Moreover, the BDS movement they support is not ultimately about borders. It’s about Israel’s existence.
None of this is to suggest that politics isn’t a factor. Trump wants to make Tlaib and Omar the face of Democrats and saw the planned visit as a chance to draw a contrast and highlight how Dems are afraid to confront them.
And he succeeded, as evidenced by how Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the bait by condemning Trump and Netanyahu over the incident.
Once again, Pelosi has it backward. She should be denouncing Tlaib and Omar for partnering with anti-Semites instead of taking their side. Maybe for once she could put principle over party.
It’s possible the ban will hurt Netanyahu in Israel’s upcoming election, which is expected to be razor-close. Domestic critics are objecting, saying the move undercuts Israel’s efforts to take a bipartisan approach to America so that the relationship does not depend on which party holds power in Washington.
Yet the ban does not create a problem for Israel as much as reflect the existence of one. The careful balancing act is being undone by shifts in both American parties that predate this incident.
Dems, following the lead of former President Barack Obama, are harshly critical of Israel, silent about Palestinian attacks and believe in wooing Iran, which threatens to wipe Israel off the map.
Trump, on the other hand, has taken unprecedented moves that favor Israel. He moved our embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. He is confronting Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear pact and is preparing a plan that aims to settle the Palestinian issues.
In the face of all this, the Palestinians refuse to talk to the administration and curse the president and his family. That’s the side Tlaib and Omar have chosen, and they have only themselves to blame for the consequences.
State comptroller finds Medicaid officials wasted $102M
Taxpayer alert: It’s worse than you thought. Much worse, according to two reports.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli finds that Medicaid officials duplicated payments by $102 million over four years. Kiss that money goodbye.
Separately, an audit finds that the MTA turned a blind eye to wild overtime spending for a decade. It was a whopping
$1.3 billion last year, a cool $100 million above 2017. In 2014, it was $849 million.
Isn’t it comforting to know that your taxes and congestion fees fund such a worthy cause as government incompetence?
‘Pravda’cation at the Times
Reports here and elsewhere that young journalists at The New York Times chafe at any limits on their ability to denounce Trump caught the eye of reader Leigh Goehring. He writes: “The left spent the last 30 years indoctrinating whole generations of privileged millennials at elite American universities. Watch out as they work their way up the journalistic ladders and grab more and more power.
“When that happens, The New York Times will make the old Pravda look like a conservative publication.”