(August 19, 2019 / JNS) Much has been written about the proposed trip to Israel of U.S House Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
At the outset, I would say that given the way the media works in this day and age, it would have been a lot worse had these two rabble-rousers actually made the trip.
One thing Israel has not excelled at, to put it mildly, is handling controversy, countering criticism and acting with an effective public relations strategy. Though much of the problem is that 80 percent of the media is biased against Israel. It is very hard to wage a PR campaign when the deck is stacked against you.
Tlaib And Omar know this, and also know how to play the game in dramatic fashion. The president is 100% percent correct to accuse Tlaib of grandstanding; both Tlaib and Omar are masters of this technique. These two anti-Israel activists turned congresswomen get a free pass from their Democratic colleagues no matter what they say. There is an old Talmudic expression that “silence is agreement.” The Democrats’ deafening silence when it comes to these two is outrageous.
If Tlaib and Omar had been allowed to go ahead with their trip to Israel, they would have wrought havoc on every single day of their visit. It would have been three weeks of pure poison. They would have hit Israel with every lie, every distortion, every exaggeration imaginable. It would have been an unmitigated nightmare.
Although they were denied entry into Israel because of their aggressive pro-BDS views, much as others (14 so far have been denied entry, including an Israeli official, French politicians and European parliamentarians) have not been allowed in for the same reason, this was just part of the dark cloud they would have brought with them.
If one looks back at the 2010 “Freedom Flotilla” and especially at the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, one gets a glimpse of what these two congresswomen set out to do. Nine people died as a result of the “Freedom Flotilla.” Despite Israel’s attempt to simply carry out an inspection of the Mavi Marmara, the incident turned into a public relations disaster.
Allowing Tlaib and Omar into Israel would have been a PR debacle 10 times worse. It quite possibly would have led to riots and bloodshed, just like the Mavi Marmara flotilla did.
The Democratic Party bears the bulk of the responsibility for the trouble Tlaib and Omar have caused. Essentially, they have allowed the duo to take over without a fight. Just look at the amount of news space these two take up.
What is forgotten in all of this is how vital Israel is as an ally to America. America depends upon Israel to stabilize the Middle East. If Tlaib and Omar had their way, Israel would cease to exist; they wouldn’t care if the entire Middle East looked like war-torn Syria.
I would like to see either one say that Israel is an important U.S. ally. I would like to see either say that Israel deserves America’s support.
Until they act in a more responsible way, they will continue to hurt the Democratic Party.
Dr. Joseph Frager is 1st Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel.
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