By: Meir Jolovitz
Congressman Steve King, a Republican from the 4th District in Iowa, is perceived to be racist. Rightly, or wrongly. King made a few comments – opining about several political issues – which all liberal voices, and not a small number of Republicans, deemed to be racist, even if only marginally so.
With a ruptured reputation now solidly in hand, the consequences that would follow seemed almost axiomatic. Condemnation. Rebuke. Censure. And to be sure, the expectation that he might be banned from circles where he was certain to find himself excoriated and unwelcomed.
So, are we all good with this so far?
Let’s play it out.
With his damaged political stature well established, if Steve King, the democratically elected Congressman, wanted to visit South Africa, and that nation said “no” – what would the Democratic Party’s position be? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, because we all know the answer. Uniformly.
What would Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the litany of progressive candidates for the most important and most powerful job in the world say? What would the self-professed experts, those political pundits from CNN, MSNBC, or the New York Times say, as they competed to outdo each other in flaying the congressman?
Hell, what would J Street or the Anti-Defamation League say? And, what would AIPAC say?
We know the answer. They would issue a press release that would each echo the other. You made your bed, Congressman King. Now sleep in it.
What unmitigated hypocrites. All of them. All except the Zionist Organization of America, the National Council of Young Israel, Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI), and the Republican Jewish Coalition (and perhaps one or two others whose press releases went unnoticed). Otherwise, all the organizations which boast a strong pro-Israel advocacy are duplicitous in that claim. Someone needs to call them out. And with them, a too-long list of political personalities who reek of the same guilt.
And yes, you know where we are going with this.
This is not a column about Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib – the two freshmen US congresswomen whose hatred of Israel is unbridled, and whose support for organizations and groups dedicated to eradicating Israel is not to be denied. This is a commentary about those who have been (dare we say?) ‘characteristically’ tepid, or even silent, in challenging that anti-Jewish animus.
In keeping with a new Israeli law that was implemented to respond to the anti-Israel boycott movement that has found a home at international conferences, throughout academia, at scientific and sports gatherings, and on college campuses everywhere – the Israeli government is prepared to bar entry to the country of all those engaging in “suspected provocations and promotion of BDS.” Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – the Nazi-inspired (yes, it is!), anti-Semitic Palestinian-driven boycott of all-things-Israeli. It is the figurative resurrection of the yellow Star of David that accompanied the “Don’t Buy From Jews” and the “Judenrein” posters that seemed ubiquitous in the pre-Holocaust days. It is the well-calculated and well-financed campaign against the Jewish State which cleverly and deceitfully lays the steps, aiming to lead us from the delegitimization to the destruction of the State of Israel.
Israel, as an exercise of sanity, and played out before an international audience, barred these two promoters of the Muslim Brotherhood from entering the Jewish State.
So what went wrong? Israel’s only mistake was the weakened knee that it displayed in then suggesting, via an interview with Ambassador Ron Dermer, that the two jihadi-loving Jew-haters would indeed be allowed to visit. The two representatives were given license to do what they had planned in the first place: vilify Israel with every prostitute-media-driven opportunity, and “expose” Israel as a racist nation engaged in ethnic cleansing. When common sense prevailed, Israel reneged, and invoked the ban, as stipulated by law. Repeat: as stipulated by law. No exceptions for democratically-elected anti-Semitic scoundrels. And then, fearful of the media, and the reality that Israel’s so-called friends were “so-called” – Israel’s knees buckled again at the thought of offending those who were routinely offended by everything Israel did, and informed the unhinged Tlaib that she could enter, but only to visit her poor grandmother – for some nonsensical reason cloaked as “humanitarian.”
A footnote: That wrinkled old granny – Muftia Tlaib – has become a media star, denigrating Israel at every opportunity. Nobody seems to understand that if she ever criticized the Palestinian Authority, she would find that she had very quickly reached her life-expectancy.
Well, we all know what happened. But, here’s what not all seem to know.
Banning, or barring, someone from entering your country has nothing to do with democracy. It has everything to do with sovereignty. And (consult your friendly international law jurist if you must) – no nation can be compelled to let you in if it chooses not to.
Here is a little more that you might want to put into your pipe and smoke. The United States has a rich record of banning people from entering, and changing its mind when it wanted to. Allow me to offer a few recognizable names. The singer, Yousef Islam (yes, known once as Cat Stevens). Israel also banned him a few years ago following his new-found allegiance to “radical” Islam. Boy George. Yes, the one some think is a singer. Diego Maradona, the acclaimed soccer star. Kurt Waldheim, the former Secretary-General of the UN, after his Nazi past was revealed. And – are you ready – Nelson Mandela, before he became everyone’s hero. They were all banned by the United States.
We’ve saved the best for last. Michael Ben Ari – the Israeli Knesset member who was banned by the Obama-Biden Administration in 2012 because of his far-rightwing Jewish ideological views. Uh, that’s Biden, as in Joe Biden, the current front-running candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. The same feeble-minded Biden who was quick to offer a tongue-lashing to Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for daring to ban Tlaib.
Banned. An Israeli Knesset member, elected “democratically” – ostensibly a tagline employed often this week as a reason that one ought not be banned.
This seems an appropriate time to ask: Where were the voices then of CNN, of MSNBC, of the New York Times, of the ADL; and of all those damn politicians who voiced their criticism of Israel? Should they not have wagged that accusatory finger at their own country as well? Where was AIPAC when Ben Ari was banned? They were hiding their hypocrisy under the cover of political expedience. On the other hand, J Street celebrated – just as they do today – not Israel’s ban of Tlaib, but rather that Israel is now being uniformly criticized by those who pretended for so long to support it. They support it conditionally it seems. That would be understandable – but to criticize it when that censure plays into the hands of those who pass out candies when Arab terrorists murder Jews is unforgivable.
To attack Israel for barring two Muslim Brotherhood supporters – two charlatans who have defended Hamas, and who have accused the American Jewish community of conflicted loyalties – and yet to justify or remain indifferent to bans elsewhere, is pure hypocrisy. And it is quite transparent!
How does AIPAC – the target of the congresswomen’s virulent venom for as long as they have had a microphone stuck in front of their mouths – feel now that it comes to their defense? They feel fine. Virtually unashamed. Because unlike Black Americans who unabashedly stand up and fight for causes that they deem to be of interest to Blacks, and unlike Muslim Americans who stand up and attack Israel because their own religious ideology instructs them to, the Jewish leaders in America (save those aforementioned few) are bereft of an erect spine. Teddy Roosevelt once opined that William McKinley had the backbone of a chocolate éclair. So too the so-called leaders of our Jewish organizations.
Unable to insert only one appropriate quote here, we include two. Adlai Stevenson once said that “a hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.” The other, no less relevant, attributed to William Hazlitt: “The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.”
Ain’t it the truth?!
There is something else that needs to be considered. There are sixteen countries that ban Israelis from entering. Just think of a Muslim country – yup – that one too. Furthermore, eight of those countries do not accept any passports that contain an Israeli visa stamp in them. This well-known fact – the reason that travelers to Israel who plan to visit one of many other countries actually request that the Israeli officials place the stamp on a removable page, one that can be concealed at their next port of entry. Have Biden, Sanders, Warren, et al – that long list of sanctimonious politicians who proved that the mouth can keep talking even if the brain has died – complained about those nations’ exclusionary policies? Of course not.
Let’s get back to Rashida Tlaib. The only criticism one hears of her – and it is certainly faint – is her declared allegiance to the “one-state solution” while almost everyone else supports the two-state solution. Well, this writer agrees with Tlaib. The remedy in the Middle East is indeed the one-state. But it will not be the Palestine that she pines for. It is Israel. The Arab world has its twenty-two Muslim nations. The Jews have their one. Only a fool (and American Jewish organizations are full of them) actually believes that rewarding the Arab Palestinians for their terrorism will bring peace. No one with an IQ in triple digits and a modicum of common sense can actually subscribe to the formula (once known as ‘land for peace’) that one ought to reward the murderers of their children in order to assuage their desire for blood. That demented thinking is the very reason the Arabs continue to target Jews unabated. Why not? The Western world actually finances their coffers. While they kill Jews.
In 2009, Netanyahu, succumbing to inordinate pressures from the new Obama Administration, addressed an audience at Bar Ilan University, and supported – reluctantly – the concept of a two-state solution. American Jewish organizations, led by AIPAC – were thrilled (again, the ZOA dissented). Many hundreds of Jewish casualties later, and with rockets raining down on Israel with an unanticipated frequency, Netanyahu has long ago abandoned that policy. Not so AIPAC. It continues, in a veritable betrayal of Israel – despite its claim that it supports Israel with its powerful lobby efforts – to stand behind a solution based on giving the terrorists a state, bringing those rockets a lot closer to the Jewish children sleeping in bomb shelters. Land, for the possible promise of peace. Tangibles for intangibles. That naïve thinking that one might appease the unappeasable.
Rashida Tlaib is evil. But she is no dummy. The dummies are on our side.
One must wonder. How can seemingly rational people embrace such irrational conclusions? Because it seems, fighting for Israel, at all times, and against all enemies is something the American Jewish community is reluctant to do.
Israel, despite its remarkable achievements in all arenas, still needs to count on our support. Instead, American Jewish spokesmen offer their critique – not in an acceptable way that will strengthen Israel – but in a manner that emboldens its enemies. Subscribing too often to liberal rather than Jewish values, we find that common sense is on life support.
The majority of Jews in America have abandoned or compromised principles and find themselves in service to a Democratic political party that has no misgiving in defending advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood (even if not always willfully), while admonishing the Jews.
It has been rightly said: It’s not a principle if it is not a principle worth fighting for. Lamentably, with the backbone of a chocolate éclair, too many Jewish leaders aren’t willing to fight.
Meir Jolovitz is a past national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America, and formerly associated with the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.