Friday, August 16, 2019

"Bend To My Will"

He may be a scoundrel, but when even a former member of the Irgun doesn't like your attack on perceived enemies of Israel, you don't really have a case:

It was not a total loss for the Likud government running Israel, however. It at least made one of the congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib, cry uncle.  NPR reports that Israel has (barely) partially relented after the Michigan Representative sent Israel's Interior Minister a letter whose contents read in full

I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beir Ur el-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.

Nor was the concession extracted probably an empty gesture, given that the visit by Tlaib and Omar to the West Bank and (presumably East) Jerusalem was "under the auspices of" a nongovermental organization staunchly committed to an independent Palestinian state. Now, however, Tel Aviv has gotten one of the congresswomen (Tlaib) to make a concession she probably did not want to make- that she would "not promote boycotts against Israel during" her visit.

Nonetheless, Israel has suffered a net loss, having bought itself some distrust within both the American Jewish community and the Democratic Party for its refusal to concede that all members of the US Congress can travel freely to Israel.

Not so President Trump, however.  Tel Aviv initially extended permission to the two Democrats, only to reverse itself when

This is what Donald Trump calls "winning." He blocked two political foes from performing an official duty, also bending an entire nation to his will.  Obviously, his action was reprehensible, and not only because an American president (successfully) recommended that a foreign government deny admission of duly elected members of a branch of government (constitutionally) equal to the presidency.

It might not have worked had this saga remained in the news for several days. However, it did not, with the Administration cleverly floating the idea of buying Greenland, thus diverting attention from an act of bigotry and hostility toward Americans, sentiments shared by many Trump disciples.

The President of the USA challenged a foreign government to say "no" to American citizens, yet another instance in which Trump has demonstrated his contempt for Americans.  And he prevailed. He again demonstrated what passes for "strength" in his eyes and those of his supporters by hitting back at the people they hate.

Opposed by Rahm Emanuel, AIPAC, and supported by virtually no one, the tactic viewed in isolation may have been a (very slight) net loser. However,it was a fine addition to Donald J. Trump's overall strategy.

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