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Friday, August 16, 2019

Opinion | What Are Trump and Netanyahu Afraid Of?





"By The Editorial Board Aug. 15, 2019



Update: On Friday, Israel said it would allow Representative Rashida Tlaib to enter the West Bank to visit her grandmother.



It is difficult to stomach the notion that an American president would put pressure on Israel to deny entry to two members of the United States Congress.



There are not many traditions of decorum that President Trump has not trampled on since entering the White House. But to put at risk, so cynically, America’s special relationship with Israel solely to titillate the bigots in his base, to lean so crassly on a foreign leader to punish his own political adversaries, to demonstrate so foul a lack of respect for the most elemental democratic principles, is new territory even for him.



Though facing a difficult election next month for which he sorely needs the support of his fractured right-wing base, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to be leaning toward allowing Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to travel through Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America,” as his ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, wisely said last month. But, on Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu cravenly bowed before the pressure from Mr. Trump.



“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”



Sad, to borrow one of Mr. Trump’s favorite words. How sad that two leaders — each desperate to look tough to his own base — are risking a bipartisan relationship built between these two nations over generations. Only weak leaders would risk so much for a reward so negligible. To what end? To win a few political points against two of the newest members of Congress? To capture a few news cycles? To dial up the outrage machine just one more notch? Confident leaders would never have risked so much for so little.



Though many American presidents have sought to influence Israeli decisions throughout the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they usually did so diplomatically — and to advance America’s interests. Mr. Trump, by contrast, leaned on Mr. Netanyahu as he would on one of his own appointees, in broad view, and in direct violation of what the president of the United States should be doing when democratically elected lawmakers are threatened with a blockade by an allied leader.



There can be, and has been, considerable debate over what the two congresswomen, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and both sharp critics of the Israeli government, have said and done. They have supported the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement aimed at pressuring Israel into ending its occupation of the West Bank, a movement that some Jews have deemed to be anti-Semitic.



Yet, from the outset, Mr. Trump has pounced on the religion and background of the two congresswomen to fan racial divisions. Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib were two of the four congresswomen of color, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who Mr. Trump said should “go back” to the countries they came from, giving rise to chants of “send her back” at a subsequent Trump political rally.



The visit Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib were contemplating was not to Israel proper, but to the West Bank, where they were to visit Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem, as well as Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, on a trip co-sponsored by a Palestinian organization, Miftah, that promotes “global awareness and knowledge of Palestinian realities.” A visit was planned to the Al Aqsa Mosque, on what Israelis call the Temple Mount, an especially volatile site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is little question that their visit would have focused on Palestinian grievances over the Israeli occupation.



All that was clearly troublesome for Mr. Netanyahu, especially the support of the congresswomen for the B.D.S. movement. A relatively recent law allows the Israeli government to deny entry to supporters of the movement; it was this law that the government used to deny entry to the representatives.



In April the United States barred Omar Barghouti, one of the co-founders of the B.D.S. movement, from entering the country when he was scheduled to deliver a series of talks and attend his daughter’s wedding. Other American public figures have been detained by Israeli authorities, ostensibly because of their political views, including the IfNotNow founder, Simone Zimmerman, who was held at the border; a B.D.S. advocate, Ariel Gold, who was denied entry to the country; and the journalist Peter Beinart, who was held at the airport. Mr. Netanyahu later called Mr. Beinart’s detention a “mistake.”



Yet contrary to Mr. Trump’s tweet, it is blocking entry by two American legislators who are critics of Israel that shows great weakness, especially after Israel hosted visits by delegations of 31 Republican and 41 Democratic lawmakers this month. It has long been Israel’s mantra that critics of its policies should come see for themselves, and the country is certainly strong enough to handle any criticism from two members of Congress. Mr. Trump has done Israel no favor."



Opinion | What Are Trump and Netanyahu Afraid Of?

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What Is Israel Trying to Hide? Reps. Tlaib & Omar Blocked from Taking Of...

Why Israel errs in barring Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar - comment - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar



"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a slew of top advisers and officials from various security organizations and ministries have been hunkering down this week trying to decide what to do about Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.


The arrival of the democratically elected US congresswomen from Michigan and Minnesota – along with other US reps for what is being called a “Congressional Delegation to Occupied Territories in Palestine” – has been shrouded in mystery, but their motives certainly are clear. The deliberations taking place in Jerusalem centered on whether to let them land and enter Israel.
Neither Tlaib nor Omar are friends of Israel. Their past inflammatory statements precede them and they don’t seem interested in learning anything about the Israeli perspective of the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Despite that, the answer to the question about allowing them into the country should be obvious: of course.
Israel has nothing to hide regarding its policies and treatment of Palestinians – some of it just and some of it is ugly. BDS advocates Tlaib and Omar may be coming to inspect and learn only about the ugly side, but there is no reason why Israeli officials shouldn’t make every effort to engage them in dialogue and host them for frank discussions on the issues.
Last month, Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer made clear that Israel would not bar the entry of the two congresswoman into Israel. “Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” he said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), who was in Israel last week leading a bipartisan delegation, said that Tlaib and Omar should be welcomed in Israel.
“Israel’s confidence – as expressed by Mr. Dermer in having any member of Congress who wants to come to Israel, have the opportunity to come to Israel and have access and to see what all these members have seen and will see – is appropriate,” Hoyer said, a declaration backed by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from California.
What’s changed since then? Is Netanyahu trying to further ingratiate himself with US President Donald Trump, who reportedly is lobbying Israel not to let the Democratic reps in? Let’s hope that wasn’t a consideration for such a sensitive issue.
The decision ultimately made by the government Thursday to apparently ban the congresswomen from entering Israel is shortsighted and deeply flawed. A quashed trip is only going to further deepen the divide between Democrats and Israel – moving moderate Democrats away from a positive view of the country – and raise the specter that Israel is behaving in something less than a democratic fashion.
Tlaib and Omar need to be let in and allowed to see what’s going on in Ramallah, Hebron and east Jerusalem. And every effort should be made by Israel to meet with them and present the other side of the coin. If Tlaib and Omar decline, it will be their loss – but Israel will have done the right thing. Now, all we’ve done is give Israel’s detractors a great gift."


Why Israel errs in barring Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar - comment - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Pelosi is ‘Original Villain’ Who Opened Door for Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen - Khmer Times



“She’s been very disrespectful,” Luqman said of Pelosi, adding that the four congresswomen gave the speaker “too much” deference in the beginning. “Pelosi, she was the foil in this story. She was the original villain. She opened the door for this, knowing how Trump is a media manipulator. He built his career on this.”

Pelosi is ‘Original Villain’ Who Opened Door for Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen - Khmer Times

Bernie Sanders slams Israel's ban of Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib ...

Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them - The New York Times





"A decade ago, Daryl Johnson, then a senior terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, wrote a report about the growing danger of right-wing extremism in America. Citing economic dislocation, the election of the first African-American president and fury about immigration, he concluded that “the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.”



When the report leaked, conservative political figures sputtered with outrage, indignant that their ideology was being linked to terrorism. The report warned, correctly, that right-wing radicals would try to recruit disgruntled military veterans, which conservatives saw as a slur on the troops. Homeland Security, cowed, withdrew the document. In May 2009, Johnson’s unit, the domestic terrorism team, was disbanded, and he left government the following year.



Johnson was prescient, though only up to a point. He expected right-wing militancy to escalate throughout Barack Obama’s administration, but to subside if a Republican followed him. Ordinarily, the far-right turns to terrorism when it feels powerless; the Oklahoma City bombing happened during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and all assassinations of abortion providers in the United States have taken place during Democratic administrations. During Republican presidencies, paranoid right-wing demagogy tends to recede, and with it, right-wing violence.



But that pattern doesn’t hold when the president himself is a paranoid right-wing demagogue.



“The fact that they’re still operating at a high level during a Republican administration goes against all the trending I’ve seen in 40 years,” Johnson told me. Donald Trump has kept the far right excited and agitated. “He is basically the fuel that’s been poured onto a fire,” said Johnson.



[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]



This past weekend, that fire appeared to rage out of control, when a young man slaughtered shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso. A manifesto he reportedly wrote echoed Trump’s language about an immigrant “invasion” and Democratic support for “open borders.” It even included the words “send them back.” He told investigators he wanted to kill as many Mexicans as he could.



Surrendering to political necessity, Trump gave a brief speech on Monday decrying white supremacist terror: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” He read these words robotically from a teleprompter, much as he did after the racist riot in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when, under pressure, he said, “Racism is evil — and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.”



Back then, it took about a day for the awkward mask of minimal decency to drop; soon, he was ranting about the “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis. Nevertheless, on Monday some insisted on pretending that Trump’s words marked a turning point. “He really did set a different tone than he did in the past when it comes to condemning this hate,” said Weijia Jiang, White House correspondent for CBS News.



If history is any guide, it won’t be long before the president returns to tweeting racist invective and encouraging jingoist hatreds at his rallies. In the meantime, everyone should be clear that what Trump said on Monday wasn’t nearly enough. He has stoked right-wing violence and his administration has actively opposed efforts to fight it. Further, he’s escalating his incitement of racial grievance as he runs for re-election, as shown by his attacks on the four congresswomen of color known as the squad, as well as the African-American congressman Elijah Cummings. One desultory speech does not erase Trump’s politics of arson, or the complicity of the Republicans who continue to enable it.



It’s true that the Obama White House, giving in to Republican intimidation, didn’t do enough to combat violent white supremacy. But Trump rolled back even his predecessor’s modest efforts, while bringing the language of white nationalism into mainstream politics. His administration canceled Obama-era grants to groups working to counter racist extremism. Dave Gomez, a former F.B.I. supervisor who oversaw terrorism cases, told The Washington Post that the agency hasn’t been as aggressive as it might be against the racist right because of political concerns. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base,” he said. “It’s a no-win situation for the F.B.I. agent or supervisor.”



On Monday, by coincidence, Cesar Sayoc Jr., the man who sent package bombs to Democrats and journalists he viewed as hostile to Trump, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In a court filing, his defense lawyers describe how he was radicalized. “He truly believed wild conspiracy theories he read on the internet, many of which vilified Democrats and spread rumors that Trump supporters were in danger because of them,” they wrote. “He heard it from the president of the United States, a man with whom he felt he had a deep personal connection.” He became a terrorist as a result of taking the president both seriously and literally.



Trump probably couldn’t bottle up the hideous forces he’s helped unleash even if he wanted to, and there’s little sign he wants to. If the president never did or said another racist thing, said Johnson, “it’s still going to take years for the momentum of these movements to slow and to die down.” As it is, Trump’s grudging anti-racism is unlikely to last the week. The memory of the mayhem he’s inspired should last longer."



Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them - The New York Times

Opinion | Trump Is a White Nationalist Who Inspires Terrorism - The New York Times

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House Monday for the president’s remarks on last weekend’s mass shootings.



This is outrageous.  Both Trump and Netanyahu are corrupt evil thugs.  Birds of a feather....



"A decade ago, Daryl Johnson, then a senior terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, wrote a report about the growing danger of right-wing extremism in America. Citing economic dislocation, the election of the first African-American president and fury about immigration, he concluded that “the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.”



When the report leaked, conservative political figures sputtered with outrage, indignant that their ideology was being linked to terrorism. The report warned, correctly, that right-wing radicals would try to recruit disgruntled military veterans, which conservatives saw as a slur on the troops. Homeland Security, cowed, withdrew the document. In May 2009, Johnson’s unit, the domestic terrorism team, was disbanded, and he left government the following year.



Johnson was prescient, though only up to a point. He expected right-wing militancy to escalate throughout Barack Obama’s administration, but to subside if a Republican followed him. Ordinarily, the far-right turns to terrorism when it feels powerless; the Oklahoma City bombing happened during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and all assassinations of abortion providers in the United States have taken place during Democratic administrations. During Republican presidencies, paranoid right-wing demagogy tends to recede, and with it, right-wing violence.



But that pattern doesn’t hold when the president himself is a paranoid right-wing demagogue.



“The fact that they’re still operating at a high level during a Republican administration goes against all the trending I’ve seen in 40 years,” Johnson told me. Donald Trump has kept the far right excited and agitated. “He is basically the fuel that’s been poured onto a fire,” said Johnson.



[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]



This past weekend, that fire appeared to rage out of control, when a young man slaughtered shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso. A manifesto he reportedly wrote echoed Trump’s language about an immigrant “invasion” and Democratic support for “open borders.” It even included the words “send them back.” He told investigators he wanted to kill as many Mexicans as he could.



Surrendering to political necessity, Trump gave a brief speech on Monday decrying white supremacist terror: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” He read these words robotically from a teleprompter, much as he did after the racist riot in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when, under pressure, he said, “Racism is evil — and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs.”



Opinion | Trump Is a White Nationalist Who Inspires Terrorism - The New York Times

Steve King Is Racist, Misogynist—and Not that Different From Other Republicans

"Republicans should be awarded no points for calling on Iowa Congressman Steve King to resign. Pointing out that this racist misogynist has no business serving in Congress is like pointing out that you shouldn’t make toast in a bathtub. It doesn’t mean you are insightful; it means the people who disagree with you are enfeebled.

King should have been drummed out of office a long, long time ago. But this week’s controversy is particularly odious. The Des Moines Register reports that King made his now infamous comments while trying to defend his religious fundamentalist position that abortion should be banned, even in cases of rape or incest. “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said at the Westside Conservative Club meeting in Urbandale, Iowa. “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.”
The statement is so offensive it wraps all the way around to farce. The guy is out there suggesting that female reproductive autonomy threatens the survival of the species. It is impossible to take seriously a person who thinks Flowers in the Attic is a story about the triumph of human evolution, and if he weren’t an actual member of Congress, nobody would.
King is what scientists call “a fool.” He says absurd things in ridiculous ways using evidence that is demonstrably false. I don’t want to waste time resurfacing every shockingly bigoted or sexist thing this man has said in public life, so just Google himThe New York Times is going to have to update its “Timeline of Steve King’s Racist Remarks and Divisive Actions” to add this latest Viking-rape apologist thought bubble.
Given this long and flagrant record, calling out a vapid knuckle-dragger like King is the easiest thing in the world for Republican politicians and media makers to do. It costs them nothing. And so, at this very moment, they are making the consequence-free virtue-signal of calling on King to resign.
That’s a problem, actually. King’s Republican co-conspirators are trying to distinguish the unwashed bigotry and misogyny of King from their own, when the only real difference is that Republicans usually use a can of Axe Body Spray before they go outside.
This headline in the Washington Examiner (for the uninitiated, the Washington Examiner is to Fox News as crack is to cocaine) says it all: “Steve King should go back where he came from.” You see what they did there? The Examiner used one of the most racist statements of Donald Trump’s entirely racist presidency—the one he deployed against four congresswomen of color—but now they’re using it against a white man so they can argue that the sentiment is not racist. They’re using it to try to draw a false equivalency between King and “the Squad,” which is bad enough. But they’re also trying to isolate King, outside of mainstream conservative thought, which is just not true. (Hello, Alabama!)
Or take Liz Cheney. Cheney is the third-highest-ranking representative on the Republican side. She tweeted out

Today’s comments by@RepSteveKingIA are appalling and bizarre. As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go. The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better.
Liz Cheney defended Donald Trump when he made those “send them back” comments about the Squad, saying that somehow they weren’t about race. She’s called Representative Ayanna Pressley “racist,” and is apparently willing to throw her own lesbian sister under the bus to gain higher office.
There’s no meaningful difference between Liz Cheney and Steve King. If I put Cheney’s voting record against King’s, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Humanitarian standards for the Border Patrol: nay. Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act: nay. Condemning Trump’s racist comments: lol, nay. Both of them even voted for the bill reprimanding Steve King. They’re both examples of what the mainstream Republican Party has become—it’s just that King likes to say the quiet part aloud.
What we’re seeing here is part of the GOP effort, aided by the media, to define racism or sexism or homophobia as something extreme and unhinged, as opposed to something common and integrated into our society. Republicans (along with many Democrats, frankly) don’t want to deal with the structural impact of white supremacy as practiced in this country for 400 years. They just want to label white supremacists as “fringe” figures who are “not actually a real problem,” as Tucker Carlson said. They don’t want to deal with the moral implications of forcing a woman to have her body hijacked for nine months, against her will, because she’s been the victim of a violent crime. They just want to throw up draconian abortion bans and institute fetal-personhood amendments but pretend like Kevin Williamson is a little wacky.
Republican politicians will be the first ones to decry political correctness when one of their racist flock gets zapped on Twitter for promoting hate speech, but the only kind of bigotry and misogyny they’re willing to acknowledge is the kind based on words, instead of actions. You can get Republican pols to furrow their brows and say, “I wish the president wouldn’t tweet so much.” But you can’t get them to do anything about the president’s policies of dehumanizing immigrants, terrorizing black and brown communities, suppressing the votes of nonwhite citizens, or erecting a wall to stand as a monument to his bigotry. No, they’d much rather go after King for saying something stupid about white nationalism than vote against the policies of white nationalism. They’d much rather go after King for saying something stupid about rape than go after Brett Kavanaugh for allegedly trying to rape somebody.
Asking Steve King to resign, but not Donald Trump, is a Republican strategy for normalizing Donald Trump. Trump is the bride to white nationalism; King is just the bridesmaid being asked to wear the ugly dress.
Republicans don’t have a problem with what Steve King believes; they have a problem with how he says it. Again, the Examiner makes that point plain: “Steve King’s rhetorical stupidity hurts the pro-life movement.”
Steve King is no gaffe machine; he’s just dumb. And he harms the causes he pretends to support.
If you’re willing to call Steve King and Donald Trump “racist” but not Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell, all you are doing is allowing white Republicans to define that term for you. If you see that King and Trump are rape apologists but can’t see the same problem with Lindsey Graham and Brett Kavanaugh, then you’re just in it for the word games and not the struggle for equal rights.
From where I sit, they all look the same to me. Because I don’t look at what they say, I look at what they do."


Steve King Is Racist, Misogynist—and Not that Different From Other Republicans