Saturday, January 27, 2024

Carrying Water for Donald Trump

In October, Reuters reported that Donald Trump- who wisely avoided invoking the word "Muslim"- vowed 

that if elected president again he will bar immigrants who support Hamas from entering the U.S. and send officers to pro-Hamas protests to arrest and deport immigrants who publicly support the Palestinian militant group.

On a campaign stop in Iowa, Trump was responding to the Hamas killing of at least 1,300 Israelis that triggered a war in which Palestinian health officials say Israel has killed more than 2,800 Palestinians in Gaza.

Trump, president from 2017-2021, said that if elected to a second White House term he will ban entry to the U.S. of anybody who does not believe in Israel's right to exist, and revoke the visas of foreign students who are "antisemitic."

He also vowed to step up travel bans from "terror-plagued countries." He did not explain how he would enforce his demands, including the one requiring immigrants to support Israel's right to exist under what he called "strong ideological screening,

The once and possibly future President of the USA maintained also that he "would ban immigrants from Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen 'or anywhere else that threatens our security' and "also read a poem that he used to liken immigrants to deadly snakes."

If you think that sounds brutal, bigoted, and illegal, you apparently are not in agreement with leading members of the Arab-American community in the city with the largest Arab-American community in the USA, in one of the swingiest states in the country. Evidently, they are on board with the idea of 4+ years of a Trump presidency. As noted by The Detroit News

The organizer of a planned meeting between President Joe Biden's campaign manager and a group of Arab and Muslim American leaders in Dearborn said it was canceled Friday after some in the wider community objected to the gathering amid fury over Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

Some Arab American political leaders from Metro Detroit who are Democrats flatly rejected any overtures from the Biden campaign until the president advocates for Israel to cease its military assault on Gaza.

Assad Turfe, who was coordinating the sit-down of Arab leaders and officials with Biden's campaign in Dearborn, said he made the decision to cancel Friday afternoon's group meeting "in the best interest of the community."

"As the community got to learn about the meeting, there was definitely a lot of outrage and, ultimately, the decision was made to cancel the meeting," said Turfe, the deputy county executive of Wayne County whose family is from Lebanon.

The meeting was to be between Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez and 10-15 Arab American elected officials, office holders and representatives from the larger community organizations, Turfe said.

The Biden campaign did not comment on the cancelation of Friday's group meeting. Other meetings between Rodriguez and individual leaders of the Arab community in Michigan went forward Friday, according to two sources.

The group meeting was among several that Rodriguez was convening with leaders from Michigan, including local elected officials and leaders from the Arab and Palestinian-American, Hispanic and Black communities.

At the time the meeting was to have been held, a prayer gathering featuring members of an "Abandon Biden" activists movement was held. Afterward, activist Imam Omar Suleiman told the Associated Press that Biden "has lost the Muslim and Arab vote. Every poll indicates that. And if you were to speak to any person in this mosque, you would hear the exact same thing."

Not everyone in that demographic is eager to get Donald J. Trump back into the White House. Earlier in the day, Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, met with Rodriguez at the paper's headquarters and stated that the latter "was very attentive and she was listening. We looked each other in the eye and I told her exactly what's going on. And she said she would take it to the President." But she complained also "This dialogue should have been three months ago. No way in hell that we can support him."  Translation: "You should have bended the knee before Israel retaliated for having its citizens butchered by assassins we're fine with."

Notwithstanding the importance of every voter in Michigan, President Biden should not be intimidated into changing policy because of the entitled attitude of leaders of a particular ethnic or religious community. There is no better political strategy than doing what is right, the President's approach thus far in the Middle East. 

If Biden fails to defeat Donald Trump in Michigan and loses the election in November, the Muslim community in the USA will find out how fortunate they, and we, were before we had a President who believed Arab-Americans are poisoning the blood of the country.


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