(March 11, 2020 / JNS) Last summer, two U.S. congresswomen, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), asked to visit Israel with a pro-BDS group. The purpose of the visit was effectively to conduct an anti-Semitic campaign against Israel from within its own borders and in violation of its laws.
The request put Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a difficult position. He knew that if he barred the two from entering the country, it would outrage the American left, in particular the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. He ultimately decided to reject the congresswomen’s request, announcing that he would not allow them to advocate for BDS in Israel. However, he added that if Tlaib wanted to visit her grandmother, who lives in a village near Ramallah, she would be allowed to do so. (Tlaib had claimed her grandmother was about to die, and that it might be her last chance to visit her.)
Tlaib’s true face was exposed: She rejected Netanyahu’s offer of a humanitarian visit and refused to promise she would not exploit the visit for BDS purposes. Eventually, Israel slammed the door in her face. Tlaib had proved her hatred of Israel was stronger than her love for her grandmother.
Today, Israel’s “Anyone but Bibi” camp, too, should consider the question of whether or not they love Israel more than they hate Netanyahu. The country is facing enormous health and economic challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, and of course the country’s diplomatic challenges—from Gaza to Iran—haven’t gone away.
In addition, thanks to U.S. President Donald Trump’s groundbreaking peace plan Israel is at a pivotal crossroads, with the opportunity, for the first time in decades, to shape its borders optimally, in a way that only a few years ago would have seemed nearly impossible. And this with the support of the greatest superpower in the world, the modern-day Rome.
But that makes no impression on the leaders of Israel’s Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu parties because Benny Gantz and Avigdor Lieberman are allowing their hatred for Netanyahu to overcome their love of Israel. They might not be aware of or admit this, and indeed, it might only appear to be the case, but in politics appearances are no less important than reality.
Any thinking person, any citizen, who wants Israel’s March 2 election to have meant something should demand that Gantz and Lieberman do what must be done and join a unity government under Netanyahu, allowing him to continue as prime minister until at least January 2021, when Trump or his successor will be sworn in on the steps of Capitol Hill.
Now is the time to join hands and allow Netanyahu to deal with the challenges and opportunities facing Israel.
Gantz and Lieberman, you received votes from Israelis who love their country, and you must pay them back in the same currency—love of country. Prove to your voters that you can and want to carry out their will. Don’t treat the country like Tlaib treated her grandmother. In the end, if you insist on doing everything your way, you won’t achieve a single one of your goals.
The voters have given you a chance, like Netanyahu gave Tlaib. If you don’t take advantage of this opportunity and agree to a unity deal with Netanyahu, in the end you’ll find yourselves—like Tlaib—shut out.
Boaz Bismuth is editor in chief of Israel Hayom.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.
JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.
During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.
Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.