Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Trumpian Characteristics

On May 5

Palestinian American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib criticized The New York Times for a headline on a story about the recent violence on the Israel-Gaza border, saying it promotes a “lack of responsibility on Israel.”

The headline read “Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, and Israel Responds with Airstrikes.”

“When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free?” the Michigan Democrat wrote on Twitter. “Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families. #FreePalestine”

The headline was objective, accurate, and fair, but was only the catalyst for Tlaib's beef against the only democratic state in the Middle East. Tlaib aimed to emphasis the "lack of responsibility on Israel" (on Israel's part?) and refers to Israel as "who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families."

I'll assume that Tlaib was referring to the governments of Israel rather than to its people, though she refers not to "Israel, which unjustly" but instead to "Israel, who unjustly." It may be a simple error of syntax on the part of someone angry and careless rather than an attack upon Jews generally.  A different view, one more grounded in reality, suggests that accusing Israel, rather than Hamas, as irresponsible ignores the reality that

Each new attack on Israeli communities forces Israel to adopt more restrictive measures on imports to Gaza to prevent the illicit transfer of goods that could be used to build and expand the militants’ arsenals. The international community donated funds for reconstruction of homes, but Hamas diverted these supplies to build the infrastructure for war instead of schools and hospitals.

Examples abound. Cement for building homes, schools and hospitals was diverted to build and reinforce tunnels under the boundary between Gaza and Israel that terrorist groups use to carry out attacks. When concrete was limited, wooden pallets were used instead. Pipes were used to manufacture rockets instead of improving the water distribution systems. Chemicals for bottling and canning were diverted to create rocket fuel. Electrodes for rockets were reportedly smuggled in butter containers and concealed in shipments of marble slabs.

Perspectives on the competing responsibilities of Tel Aviv and Hamas can legitimately vary.  Not so the assertion that "Israel target(s) Palestinian children and families," a lie unbecoming anyone not named "T-r-u-m-p."  Responding to a more typical Israeli attack

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday fiercely denounced Israel for the bombing of a building housing Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu in Gaza.

The bombing came amid heavy fighting on Saturday, as Gazan terrorists fired over 250 rockets at Israel and Jerusalem responded with airstrikes on the Strip....

Anadolu reported that the building collapsed after being hit. The IDF said the eight-story building was used by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups to conduct terrorist activities.

Staff were evacuated shortly before the strike which was preceded by a warning shot, the agency said, adding that none of its journalists had been hurt.

"Preceded by a warning shot."  Before a cease-fire was reached, the Israeli military had reportedly killed "at least" 25 Palestinians in its attack, which would be extraordinary malpractice were women and children targeted. However, it is not surprising that Tlaib, a sworn opponent of the President, nonetheless would mimic Trump's habit of psychological projection, attributing to her enemy- Israel- a characteristic of her ally, Hamas.

And the congresswoman has made clear her opinion of Israel and her propensity to lie about it. Prior to Tlaib's victory in August in the Michigan Democratic primary, her candidate page on the website of J Street (the dovish, pro-Israel group which had endorsed her) assured potential donors that she

believes that the U.S. should be directly involved with negotiations to reach a two-state solution. Additionally, she supports all current aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, particularly to fund initiatives that ‘foster peace, as well as economic and humanitarian services.’ Tlaib does not support the expansion of settlements and believes that they make it difficult to reach a sustainable two-state solution.

In a post-election interview, however, she reversed course, stating

One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work. I’m only 42-years old but my teachers were of that generation that marched with Martin Luther King. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.

She added

Americans should not be aiding any country that doesn’t support human rights. I’ve been very clear. I will not support racist countries that pick and choose who gets access to justice.

Tlaib has to get out more often. Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews are not fighting because of their racial composition- whatever that may be- but because of competing historical claims to the same land.   Even though fostering bigotry while spreading falsehoods and misrepresenting one's own position is far more the brand of the President, Tlaib's practice has the potential to harm the Democratic Party considerably if it is not curbed.

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