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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Trump bars two U.S. Congresswomen from Israel

As I have often said, when you think that tRUMP can't go any lower, he exceeds your expectation. His limbo trick is now subterranean. tRUMP encouraged Israel to bar two U.S. Congresswomen from visiting Israel. When his partner in crime Netenyahu announced the ban, tRUMP tweeted with glee. The decision by Netanyahu and tRUMP's support are disgraceful. tRUMP tweeted that if Israel allowed the two congresswomen to visit it would be a sign of great weakness. Needless to say the exact opposite is true.
I am a former member of AIPAC. I gave up my membership for a fundamental reason. AIPAC's raison d'etre is to support the State Of Israel whether or not its policies are, in my opinion, wrong. I don't support my own country right or wrong. Therefore I will not support Israel right or wrong. On the other hand, I totally agree with AIPAC's mission to support the State Of Israel and to strengthen Israel's ties with the United States. Israel remains the sole democratic country in a sea of undemocracy.
I am a member of J Street. J Street's mission also is to support the State Of Israel. But if Israel has a policy which J Street feels is wrong, J Street will criticize Israel. I have witnessed first hand some bitter disputes between AIPAC and J Street. But their fundamental disagreements do not detract from their core missions of support for Israel.
I have been a member and then an observer of AIPAC for more than 30 years. AIPAC has issued an eloquent denunciation of Netanyahu's decision. In my memory, this is the first time that AIPAC has criticized a policy of Israel. My hat is off to AIPAC. J Street has issued a similar denunciation. It is a joy to see these sometimes bitter rivals agree on an important issue. To a large extent, this coming together is an unintended consequence of tRUMP's ignorance.
Make no mistake, I do not like either Tlaib or Omar. They both support BDS. I believe that at its core BDS is antisemitic. The BDS manifesto says that it is opposed to the "occupation". BDS is not referring to the West Bank alone. It considers all of Israel to be an occupier of Arab lands. This means that BDS wants to see Israel eliminated. I don't blame the Israeli government for denouncing supporters of BDS. But Israel is a democracy. Anyone who has been to Israel knows that there are robust disagreements, to say the least, among many factions in Israel. But Israel is a strong nation. It can well handle dissent. It is simply unforgivable that Israel is barring two duly elected United States Congresswomen.
Last week Congressman Steny Hoyer led a large delegation of congressmen to Israel. He has led many similar delegations in the past. You cannot find a stronger supporter of Israel than Steny Hoyer. In last week's trip, Congressman Hoyer met with Rashida Tlaib's grandmother in the West Bank. This is how democracy in Israel works. Hoyer has denounced Netenyahu's decision.
I remember well Saudi Arabia barring U.S. Senators who happened to be Jewish from entering its country. It may still be the policy in some Arab countries that they will not allow people into their country if there is an Israeli stamp on their passport. This policy by Netenyahu bears a striking resemblance to those abhorrent policies. Israel is a small country in size, but a big country in democratic ideals. Its Palestinian Arab citizens vote in Israeli elections and have representatives in the Israeli Parliament.. I hope that Netenyahu and his crew will return to Israel's idealistic roots. That's my view. Take care all.
Richard Lenter

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