I consider Benjamin Netanyahu a repulsive human being and I oppose the policies he has inflicted upon Israel and the Palestinians. Does that make me anti-Semitic? I don’t think so, as that would require me to hate myself and my family.
At its founding in 1948, Israel was a great socialist experiment. Jews from around the world flocked to work on kibbutzim, and the kibbutz is a model socialist organization.
I bring this up because until Nov. 3, 2020 — election day — you are going to be hearing a lot about those horrible socialist Democrats and their supposed anti-Semitism — just as we’ve heard it throughout this month.
Most Americans have no idea what socialism is. That’s why for more than a generation Republicans have been able to campaign, and win, on a program of hating socialism, but loving Social Security and Medicare.
(For those who never took Civics: Medicare and Social Security are socialist programs. Republicans denounced them as socialist or communist and campaigned against them when they were introduced, yet now they vow to defend them with what’s left of their miserable lives.)
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has taken a lot of flak since she entered Congress this year and dared to criticize the policies of Netanyahu — which is to say, the policies of Israel, which Netanyahu has dominated for 10 years.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who grew up in or around Omar’s Fifth Congressional District in Minnesota, wrote a very strong column about Omar and Israel a week ago. In it, Friedman agreed with Omar about the noxious influence that AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — has wielded and continues to wield in Congress.
Friedman wrote: “I believe Aipac for many years has not only become a rubber stamp on the right-wing policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has resulted in tens of thousands of Israeli settlers now ensconced in the heart of the West Bank, imperiling Israel as a democracy. Aipac has also been responsible for making support for Israel a Republican cause, not a bipartisan issue, which poses a real danger to Israel’s support in America in the long run …”
I part ways with Friedman, however, when he wrote, three paragraphs later: “Everything I have heard from her leads me to conclude that she dislikes Aipac because she dislikes Israel, because she does not really believe the Jewish people have a right to an independent state in their ancestral homeland. She seems to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, known as B.D.S.”
Friedman says unequivocally that he believes Congresswoman Omar does not dislike only Netanyahu’s policies, but that she dislikes Israel itself.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are a matter of tactics. Did the boycotts of South Africa and divestments 30 years ago hasten the end of apartheid? I believe they did.
If Omar does back BDS, does that mean she hates Israel? I can’t see it that way.
Of Israel’s 8.9 million people, 21 percent — 1.8 million people — are Arabs who are not Jewish.
Yet Prime Minister Netanyahu, for a decade the most powerful person in Israel, posted on his Facebook page this week: “Israel is not a country of all its citizens. According to the Nation-State Law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish nation — and its alone.”
Sounds like apartheid to me — from the man who dictates the conditions under which 1.8 million of his own citizens must live. He does not consider Arabs Israeli citizens.
Netanyahu said this as he approaches an election he is likely to lose — thanks to intemperate comments like this. It’s an inflammatory statement, meant to stir up support, and votes, from Israel’s extreme right wing, which is Bibi’s only hope for retaining power.
We’re in for worse here in the United States, about anti-Semites (Boo!), Christians (Yay!) and socialism (Boo! What is it?)
How bad could it — will it — get here? Well, President Trump said this week that Democrats “hate” Jews.
This is leadership? This is the president of the United States?
Bibi and Little Donnie are soul brothers under their pale skins. They stoop to conquer.
John Updike said it well, in “Bech, a Book.”
“He thought intelligence a function of the individual and that groups of persons were intelligent in inverse proportion to their size. Nations had the brain of an amoeba whereas a committee approached the condition of a trainable moron.”