Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, still acting as president in 2021 even though his term expired in 2009, said on June 29 that the entirety of Israel is a “foreign body” implanted in the Middle East as “a product of colonialism.” It is a world view he has been exporting and believes is being accepted, noting the “shifts in the world’s public opinion and at the level of parliaments towards reconsidering the Palestinian narrative,” and rejection of “the Zionist narrative that falsifies the truth and history.“
Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on a particular form of Holocaust denial which asserted that Jews have no history in the land so no Jews had any interest in moving to Palestine. Consequently, Zionists conspired with the Nazis to make life unbearable in Europe so European Jewry would be forced to flee and settle in Palestine.
Abbas added that all of Israel is a fictional creation meant to “fragment [the Arab world] and keep it weak.” Still, the Palestinian Authority has shown a willingness to accept a portion of the Israeli colonialist settlement activity:
“Despite our acceptance of a painful historic settlement recognizing the State of Israel on the 1967 borders in accordance with United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 and the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel has violated these agreements and continued to steal the land, establish settlements, and create an apartheid regime and ethnic cleansing by military force.” (Note that the Oslo Accords specifically stated that Israel controls Area C of the West Bank).
Abbas added some charges about “Israeli occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing” to keep the anti-Zionist lexicon fresh.
He concluded his remarks at the Al-Quds Open University in the Gaza Strip conference, which was meeting to create new distortions to foist on the world:
“The world has begun to see Israel as it is: an occupying and apartheid state. I am confident that the contributions of the researchers participating in this conference will have an important impact on clarifying and explaining the truth about the myths and false narratives of this Zionist project created by the Western countries for purely colonial purposes.“
Palestinians are spending considerable energy to reeducate the world on manufactured “facts” rather than acknowledging the basic history, dignity and rights of Jews. Sadly, universities like Yale and the City University of New York are using the Palestinian al-Quds University for source sheets in echoing calls to attack the Jewish State.
The spike in anti-Semitism right after the latest skirmish between the Palestinian political-terrorist group Hamas and Israel seemingly caught many people off guard even though the same thing happened in 2014. The surprise is rooted in the delusion that the conflict is between two ethnic groups (Arabs and Jews), when in fact it is a religious war between Muslims and Jews, much like the crusader wars between Christians and Muslims centuries ago. The religious battles in the holy land quickly ignite anti-Semitism globally, especially when holy sites are involved.
Sovereignty: Islamic Ottomans versus Zionist Jews
Various peoples have ventured through the holy land over thousands of years, as the small strip of land is the only corridor connecting Africa on one hand, and Europe and Asia on the other. Different races, religions and ethnicities came and went with sovereignty falling under different regimes.
From 1517 to 1917, the Ottoman Turks ruled the region as part of its vast empire. The Ottomans were Islamic and gave preference to members of its faith. Early in its rule, Ottomans kicked Jews off of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest location, and relegated them to a small part of the western supporting wall of the Temple Mount. That area, the Kotel, has since become the stand-in for Jews for their sacred spot. Similarly, the Islamists forbade Jews from entering the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron.
When the British and French defeated the Ottomans in World War I, they divided the empire into distinct mandates which would ultimately become various countries including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Upon announcing that the Jews would get to reestablish their homeland in the Balfour Declaration which became codified in international law in the 1920 San Remo Agreement and 1922 Mandate of Palestine, the Muslim Arab world went berserk. It was one thing for the far-away, non-Arab Ottoman regime to rule Palestine, but at least they were Muslims. It was an insult to Islamic pride to have the land ruled by Jews.
Once the notion of Jewish sovereignty was introduced, the basic presence of Jews became a problem.
Muslim Arabs slaughtered Hebron’s Jews in 1929, making the British feel that the removal of Jews from the city was the right course of action rather than punishing the murderers. The British would fold to Muslim Arab anti-Semitism again after their multi-year riots from 1936 to 1939, and instituted the White Paper which forbade the Jews fleeing Nazi Europe to enter Palestine, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews.
During World War II, the Mufti of Jerusalem met frequently with Hitler and other Nazi leaders to conspire against the Jews, making sure they were killed and could not flee to Palestine.
After the war, in the shadow of the Holocaust, Muslim nations routed Jews from their lands, with roughly one million Jews fleeing Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. These were not Zionists but Jewish neighbors who had lived for hundreds of years in Muslim lands. They were attacked simply for sharing the faith with Jews in Israel.
Whether in Europe, the Middle East or North Africa, Christians and Muslims trounced the local Jewish communities.
Toxic Islamic Anti-Semitism
While the Christian world rethought systemic anti-Semitism in the Second Vatican Council of 1965, the anti-Semitic toxicity level continued to spread among Muslims, especially after their defeat in 1967 when they went from smug warriors about to finish off the Jews a mere generation after the Holocaust, to embarrassed losers in just a week.
The 1988 Hamas Charter remains the most anti-Semitic foundational document of any political party ever written. It combines the vileness of Hitler’s Mein Kampf with the Russian forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It blames Jews for starting all wars for profit, controlling the media and global resources as well as “uncleanliness, vileness and evils.” The document calls upon Muslims around the world to fight the Jews and kill them in a messianic jihad. “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it…. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious…. the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis…. Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people.” The conflict is anchored through the lens of a religious war against Jews and Judaism.
The charter makes clear that the issue is not 1967 borders or even 1948 borders, but that “struggle against the Zionist invaders… goes back to 1939,” the beginning of the Holocaust. For Hamas, the core of the issue is that Jews survived the Holocaust and came to Palestine. The root of the current hastags #Hitlerwasright has nothing to do with a property dispute in Sheikh Jarrah in eastern Jerusalem, but that the Jews continue to exist.
Regular Islamic Anti-Semitism
Not all Muslims believe that all Jews are sinister and must be punished for re-assuming sovereignty of the holy land as they had thousands of years ago. Many are garden-variety anti-Semites.
In 2005, the Palestinians voted a man who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, as their new president. The following year they voted the political-terrorist group Hamas to 58% of the parliament. In 2014, the ADL conducted a poll which found that 93% of Palestinian Arabs – almost every single person polled – held anti-Semitic views.
Beyond the holy land, a 2015 ADL poll found that Muslims around the world were two to five times more likely to be anti-Semites than Christians in the same country.
As further proof that the dispute is between religions and not ethnic groups, Hamas’s biggest sponsors are not Arab countries but non-Arab Islamic countries of Turkey and Iran (which has threatened to wipe Israel off the map). Religion, not ethnicity, drives the conflict.
The Sensitivity of Religious Sites
While Muslim Arabs object to Jews living anywhere in what they perceive as an Islamic waqf, the sensitivity is heightened around religious sites. The Muslim world calls for “days of rage” when anything happens around Jerusalem and especially the al Aqsa Mosque. Even during peaceful times, Muslim Mourabitoun harass Jewish visitors to the Jewish Temple Mount, while they simultaneously leave Christian visitors alone.
The Indignity of the “Jewish State”
Underscoring the religious dimension of the conflict is the refusal of Palestinian Authority President to accept Israel as the “Jewish State,” even though doing so costs nothing in terms of the main desires of Palestinian Arabs which seek sovereignty and to move into neighborhoods where ancestors once lived. Abbas would be willing to forgo an independent Muslim Arab state if he has to simultaneously acknowledge Jewish sovereignty in Israel.
The Broader World’s Embrace of Muslim Anti-Semitism
The non-Muslim world has accepted many of the Muslim charges, seemingly re-connecting with its own historic toxic anti-Semitism.
Only Jewish Israelis moving east of the 1949 Armistice Lines are labeled with the unique term “settlers,” while Muslim Israeli Arabs moving to eastern Jerusalem or other parts of the West Bank are simply called “Palestinians.” Airbnb has one policy for Jews renting homes in the West Bank and another for non-Jewish neighbors renting out their homes. Europe seeks to have distinct labels for products coming from Jewish businesses in the West Bank and a different one for Muslim businesses. The dividing line is not whether the owner is Israeli or Palestinian but whether the Israeli is Jewish or Muslim.
The examples go on.
The two-state solution has been long been marketed as creating sovereign entities for two ethnic groups – Jews and Arabs – but that has always been a myth. The Arabs already have dozens of countries and Palestinian Arabs were content being part of Muslim Arab Jordan from 1949 to 1967 and the Muslim non-Arab Ottoman Empire from 1517 to 1917. The conflict stems from the massive Muslim world’s distaste for the single small Jewish state. The Islamists proposed solution is ideally to wipe the Jewish State off the map. Failing that, making the country exceptionally small, without control of any religious sites, and converted into a bi-national (non-Jewish) state is the most they could accept.
The “Palestinian-Israeli” or “Arab-Israeli” Conflict is actually the “Muslim-Jewish Conflict over the Holy Land.” It is therefore no surprise that flare-ups in Israel rooted in noxious Palestinian Muslim anti-Semitism should ignite the same vile reactions against local Jews around the world, led by regional Muslim fanatics and abetted by other willing anti-Semites.
In 1935, German composer Carl Orff set 24 Medieval Latin poems to music, in a collection known as Carmina Burana. The first and most famous song, O Fortuna, has been used in several movies including John Boorman’s Excalibur. It describes fate both like a moon and a wheel, ever waxing and waning, and having ups and downs. Change is constant. Sometimes you’re high and sometimes low. In the end, life is like a landscape painting where the best moments are captured by the mountain peaks and the lowest points disappear in the valleys.
Judaism has a different perspective. Rather than considering highs and lows, it sees blessings and curses. The contrast can best be seen in a biblical story of the Israelites in the desert.
In Numbers 22, the kings of Moab and Midian call upon a famous non-Jewish prophet named Balaam to curse the Israelites, as the kings were nervous that the Jewish people would take over their land. Balak, the king of Midian, said to Balaam “Come then, put a curse upon this people for me, since they are too numerous for me; perhaps I can thus defeat them and drive them out of the land.” (Numbers 22:6) When Balaam prepared to do so, God asked Balaam the nature of the request, and he said that Balak had said “Here is a people that came out from Egypt and hides the earth from view. Come now and curse them for me; perhaps I can engage them in battle and drive them off.” (22:11)
Rashi, the medieval commentator, looked at the difference in how Balaam referred to Balak’s request and said that Balaam actually wanted to drive the Jews from the world, not just the land of Moab, since he hated them more than Balak. While Rashi focused on the word “וְגֵרַשְׁתִּֽיו” to arrive at his opinion, one can also consider the highlighted text above “hides the earth from view,” (וַיְכַ֖ס אֶת־עֵ֣ין הָאָ֑רֶץ). The hidden parts are the valleys where people cannot be seen. It is typically when a person or people are most vulnerable – the lowest part of the wheel, to use the metaphor in O Fortuna. That a lowly people could be so powerful to defeat the Amorites and Og, the king of Habashan (Numbers 21) perplexed the prophet. It unnerved his worldview, so he hated them.
God forbade Balaam from carrying out the task, “Do not go with them. You must not curse that people, for they are blessed.” (22:12) But eventually Balaam does go to to see the Jewish nation per Balak’s request, and arrives at a place where “he could see a portion of the people,” (22:41) as he was in the heights and Jews were spread out in the valleys.
Balaam told Balak that he could not curse those who God would not curse. These people have an inner strength beyond the ups and downs of life, “As I see them from the mountain tops, Gaze on them from the heights, There is a people that dwells apart, Not reckoned among the nations.” (23:9)
Balak was angry with Balaam’s non-curses and considered that a better position and angle might elicit a more satisfying curse. Balak brought him to a few other mountaintops where he could see the entirety of the Jewish nation (23:13-14, 23:28) but it made no difference. God had blessed these people, even as they sat motionless in the valleys “How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel!” (24:5). Balaam had internalized that blessings and curses could happen at any station. He had broken the wheel.
Judaism has a different view of life beyond the motions of up and down; it considers states of blessings and curses. As a characteristic, they can exist in different situations and can even coexist at the same time. It is a dynamic which has incensed anti-Semites for millennia but also brought joy to those who bless the Jewish people in good times and bad.
The United Nations began its week-long program of combatting terrorism on June 16, 2021, in Qatar, one of the leading sponsors of the terrorist group, Hamas. Even worse, the UN didn’t simply convene a counter-terrorism conference in Qatar, it actually opened an office dedicated to that cause in the country.
The program’s opening remarks discussed the UN’s opening of the counter-terrorism office in Doha, Qatar “in recognition of the United Nations and the international community of Qatar’s outstanding role in the fight against terrorism, under the leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, “May Allah protect him” and for his well-established policy in the fight against terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its source and in the elimination of its causes.“
The UN “recognition” seemingly comes in the face of one its own priorities of stopping the funding of terrorism, an important element of defeating the global scourge, in which the UN “Security Council expressed concern at the flow of funds to terrorists and the need to suppress all forms of terrorist financing.” One must therefore conclude that the UN cannot recognize Qatar’s funding of Hamas and/or that Hamas is a terrorist group.
Qatar Funds Hamas’ Terrorism
The United States has long noted Qatar’s funding of the terrorist group Hamas. After the 2014 War from Gaza, the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote about “Hamas’ Benefactors: A Network of Terror.” The report noted that “Qatar funds Hamas’ strikes in Gaza, as well as its project, building terror tunnels from which to attack Israel,” and that the US “cannot continue to allow Qatari funds to go to terrorist groups, Hamas or any other, unabated and unaddressed.”
Despite the dirty open secret, just last week, the UN’s Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace, Tor Wennesland, met with the leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar. Sinwar was looking for the UN to press Israel allow the flow of $30 million from Qatar, as the first part of a $500 million transfer directly to Hamas “to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” Israel had supposedly said it would work with the UN to allow such money transfers, making Sinwar excited about the meeting.
Sinwar was disappointed.
Wennesland passed along a message from the new Israeli government that the Jewish State had no intention of allowing the funding of terror. Naftali Bennett, the new Israeli Prime Minister, is likely looking to obtain the release of the bodies of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas for the past seven years in exchange for a Qatari-led funding program which would be fully managed by the United Nations instead of Hamas.
The UN Won’t Comment on Hamas’ Terrorism
Meanwhile in New York, the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson answered a few questions about the nature of the meeting between Wennesland and Sinwar.
When asked about Hamas’s military summer camp which has a promotional video with children as young as 9 years old being trained to infiltrate Israel with guns, the UN spokesperson meekly offered “I have not seen that particular video.” That summer camp is called “Talayiea Al Tahrir” or “Vanguards of Liberation,” with a stated program goal to “ignite the flame of jihad in the generation of liberation, sow Islamic values and prepare the expected victory army for the liberation of Palestine, Allah willing.“
The UN has more personnel on its payroll devoted to Palestinians than any other group in the world but they just couldn’t find or know about military camps for kids which have been going on for years. And years. And years. And years. And years.
Turning a blind eye to the terrorism of Hamas is an integral part of the UN strategy.
In May, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres thanked Qatar for its role in helping broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and added that “no effort should be spared to bring about real national reconciliation that ends the division,” between Hamas and Fatah. Gutteres consequently cannot simultaneously call Hamas a terrorist group and endorse its integration into the Palestinian Authority. So the UN grants Hamas a free pass on terrorism.
While the United Nations meets to stop terrorism, it turns a blind eye to Hamas and its sponsors as it reveals its steel heart to the only Jewish State.
When the Children of Israel were walking through the desert on their way to the Jewish holy land, they complained to Moses that they lacked good food and drink (Numbers 20:1-13). God commanded Moses to take his staff and to go with his brother Aaron to gather the people and speak to a rock to produce water. Moses grabbed his staff and instead of speaking to the rock, he hit it with his staff which shot forth water. Despite producing the desired result of delivering water, Moses and Aaron were punished with not being able to enter the Jewish promised land. The site became known as Mei Merivah, Bitter Waters.
On its face, the difference in Moses’ action seems minor, hitting versus speaking to the rock. The end result was that water came out and the Jews were happy. It begs the question why God punished Moses and Aaron so severely.
When God commanded Moses to take the staff when he stood before the Jewish people, it was to show that he was acting as an agent of God. The staff was a symbol of Moses acting on God’s behalf. However, Moses used the staff as a tool with which to strike the rock. The Jews witnessed Moses producing the water with his strike of the implement upon the rock, rather than internalizing that God had produced the water. Yes, the Jews got what they wanted but they attributed the benefit solely from the hands of Moses and Aaron rather than acknowledging the actual source of the blessing.
Mistaking a symbol as a tool goes on in Israel today as well.
Jerusalem Day is a wonderful celebration which commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem which had been divided when the Jordanian army invaded and illegally annexed half of the city. For 19 years (1949-1967), the Arabs forbade Jews from living, visiting or praying in the Old City and at the Jewish Temple Mount and Western Wall. The anti-Semitic edicts changed in June 1967 after Jordan attacked Israel again but this time lost, a true cause for celebration by human rights activists everywhere.
During the Jerusalem Day festivities, some Israeli nationalists have a Flag Parade where they march through the streets of Jerusalem, including the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, waiving Israeli flags as they demonstrate that the area is under Israeli sovereignty. The group often taunts the Palestinian and Israeli Arabs as they sing the Israeli national anthem and practice their Arab curse words.
Like their ancestors of 3,300 years ago, the Children of Israel got what they want but sometimes miss the important message: the Israeli flag and national anthem are symbols of Jewish sovereignty once again in their holy land. To use them as tools to provoke Arabs undermines the blessing.
The reunification of Judaism’s holiest city should be marked on holidays and every day with Jews walking, praying, learning and living in every corner of Jerusalem. Proudly wearing Jewish symbols and speaking holy words will enable all of the Children of Israel – including Moses and Aaron – to be present in Judaism’s eternal capital.
Islamists and leftists often refer to Hamas by the group’s preferred tagline as a “resistance force,” softening the organization’s anti-Semitic and genocidal core. Fortunately, Western countries are not following suit.
On May 17, 2021, the Organization of American States (OAS), stated unequivocally that Hamas is a terrorist group that targets civilians which “makes the invocation of the principle oflegitimate defense by Israel essential.“
The OAS constitutes 35 nations in North and South America, every country in the region with the exception of Cuba. The United States had previously categorized Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in 1997, along with other Palestinian Arab terrorist groups. Antigua objected to the recent OAS designation.
Further east, the European Union confirmed that Hamas is a terrorist group in 2019. Hamas had tried to overturn the designation claiming it’s a democratically-elected political party, which is true but has nothing to do with it’s homicidal and destructive actions and statements; it just says more about Palestinian Arabs who elected the group to 58% of its parliament. Hamas is eager to be taken off the terrorist list to ease the flow of funds into its coffers.
Not one news agency – Reuters, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal – reported on the fact that entire western world has woken up to the evilness of Hamas. Instead, the mainstream media continues to report on the dire need of funding to rebuild Gaza from its self-inflicted situation, as they pivot to a jaundiced pro-Palestinian narrative from accurately reporting the news.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to absolve Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after Omar lumped the United States and Israel into the same basket as the terrorist groups of the Taliban and Hamas. Pelosi said “We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification.”
“Clarifications” on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments have an interesting history.
Progressive professor and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill offered a clarification after he quoted the tagline of the Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist group, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which calls for the eradication of Israel. Hill “clarified” his comment that he was actually seeking a “radical change within Israel, not a desire for its destruction,” to convert the Jewish State into a bi-national state. He implied he wants a purely Arab state of Palestine and the end of Israel as a Jewish State. That was clarity enough for his to keep his job at Temple University.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has a similar view about Israel and she tied it to the Holocaust. She told an outright lie that Israel was established in “trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust” at the expense of her Palestinian Arab ancestors. People criticized her remarks in failing a basic truth that the land of Israel has been center of Judaism for nearly 4,000 years and modern Zionism predates the Holocaust by many decades. The whitewashing of the active role her ancestors played in blocking Jews from entering Palestine in fleeing Europe – killing over 100,000 Jews – was beyond insensitive. Tlaib remained defiant tweeting “I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda,” in an attempt to invert her vile anti-Semitism as a charge against others who note basic facts.
Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan was a little less elegant in asking people to stop saying he’s an anti-Semite, clarifying “I’m anti-Termite.” That seemed to be enough for him to remain in a vaunted position with numerous politicians and celebrities quoting him.
The “clarifications” of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites like Omar, Tlaib, Hill and Farrakhan are additional opportunities for them to spew venom. Their desired absolution cannot be granted by leaders like Nancy Pelosi, and each and everyone of us must hold the bigots to account.
Benjamin Netanyahu lost his role as Israel’s Prime Minister over this past June weekend. He served as the longest running head of Israel, and oversaw the country’s emergence as a leading force for stability and democracy in the turbulent Middle East.
Israeli politics have principally been shaped by four regional realities: The 2000-2004 Two Percent War/ Second Intifada; the “Arab Spring”; the dangerous aspirations of Iran; and the demographics of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel. It is with that backdrop that one must assess why Israel elected the same politician over-and-again in a vigorous democracy, and what future governments of Israel will look like.
The 2000-2004 Two Percent War/ Second Intifada and Hamas2006 and 2007
The Israel-Palestinian conflict was scheduled to reach its conclusion in September 2000 at the five-year anniversary of the Oslo Accords. Rather than accept less than all of his stated goals, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, opted to launch a murderous campaign against Israelis. The “Second Intifada” or Two Percent War watched repeated attacks of Palestinian Arabs blowing up buses and pizza stores to deliberately kill women and children. Only with the construction of the separation barrier was Israel able to stop the Palestinian terrorism.
Hawkish Ariel Sharon, who headed the Likud Party (and later, Kadima) was elected to head the government several times, in March 2001, February 2003 and November 2005, as Israelis internalized that Palestinians would rather slaughter Israelis than make peace. When Palestinians later elected the political-terrorist group Hamas to a majority of the Palestinian parliament in 2006 and watched it take over Gaza in 2007, Israelis understood that land-for-peace was in fact land-for-terror. Israelis clearly saw reality despite cataracts of hope, and elected a leader they thought had a firm grasp of the intentions of Palestinian Arabs.
After Sharon’s debacle in leaving Gaza in 2005 and drift into a coma, it was time for Netanyahu to make his comeback as head of the Likud Party. He assumed the Prime Minister role as head of Likud in March 2009.
The Arab Spring2011-
The Muslim Arab world has long been ruled with an iron hand by monarchies which lived rich lives while their populations lived in abject poverty. In late 2010, the Arab populations had had enough. Riots to oust leaders sprung up throughout the region including in Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain. In some countries, leaders were ousted while in others – like Syria – the leadership committed war crimes against its own citizenry to remain in power.
How much the thriving economy and democracy of Israel, right in the heart of the region, inspired the popular Arab revolts in the region will be debated. However, what was abundantly clear to the entire world, was that the Arab world was at war with itself, and Israel was a beacon of stability in a vicious neighborhood.
Iranian Nuclear Ambitions and Sponsorship of Terrorism
Iran has been listed on the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984. The Islamic regime has repeatedly stated since at least 2005, that Israel should be wiped from the map, and it has taken various steps to make that happen.
Iran funds Hezbollah in Lebanon (went to war with Israel in 2006) and various Palestinian Arab terrorist groups in Gaza (went to war with Israel in 2008-9, 2012 and 2014). It also assists in the creation of an advanced military platform in Syria (2018-).
And over the past decade, it has advanced its own nuclear weapons program.
The promotion of terrorist groups is horrible enough and forces Israel into military confrontations on multiple fronts. But nuclear weapons in the hands of such a government is completely unacceptable. Not only to every Israeli but to various Arab countries in the region including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Netanyahu capitalized on the collective fear of a nuclear Iran and struck the “Abraham Accords” normalization agreements with Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan and Morocco. More countries will likely follow.
The Israeli street was thrilled with Netanyahu’s peace agreements and aggressively combatting Iran’s nuclear ambitions both militarily and politically.
The Demographics of Haredis
There is a common misperception of what a typical Israeli looks like. To read the news, one would think that they are all White-looking Jews like Netanyahu. In fact, the majority of Israeli Jews are from Arab countries and are as Brown as the Israeli non-Jewish population which stands at roughly 25% of the country. In all, White Israeli Jews make up roughly 20-25% of the 9 million citizens.
Within both the European-looking and Arab-looking Jewish population, there is a rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox population, called Haredim. This ultra-Orthodox group now numbers roughly 1.2 million people, or 13% of the country. They have many more children than the non-Haredi Israelis (4.2% annual growth rate versus 1.4%) and their youth account for 58% of the population (compared to 30% for non-Haredi).
In short, they are the future of Israel, should current trends continue.
Netanyahu actively courted their support in his various election wins. While the ultra-Orthodox typically voted for their own parties (Shas and United Torah Judaism), they aligned with Likud to form governing coalitions, as Netanyahu promised them funding for their yeshivas and accommodations for army service.
Netanyahu may no longer be the Israeli Prime Minister but his Likud party trounced all other political parties with 30 seats compared to second place Yesh Atid with 17. More so, the backdrop of Palestinian Arabs unwilling to compromise for peace, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the rise of ultra-Orthodox community make his positions – if not a comeback of his person – likely to remain.
After the Palestinian political-terrorist group HAMAS launched 4,000 rockets into Israel most recently, Omar pointed the finger at many groups she felt committed human rights abuses and war crimes, tweeting “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” lumping leading democracies with terrorist groups. The condemnation from Jews and American patriots was swift. As was the defense from fellow Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who tweeted:
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.“
Tlaib has no such courage.
In December 2019, after two Black people shot up a kosher store in Jersey City, NJ killing two, Tlaib tweeted “This is heartbreaking. White supremacy kills,” pointing the finger at White people whom she assumed committed the anti-Semitic murders. When Tlaib found out that the killers were actually Black, she deleted the tweet and then generically condemned anti-Semitism but not from Black people.
For Tlaib, the murderers and anti-Semites should only be called out if they’re White.
Ilhan Omar remarkably admitted that Hamas and the Taliban commit atrocities. Rashida Tlaib can do no such thing, as she fights to defend Hamas terrorists who kill Israeli Jews and shields Black anti-Semitic murderers from public condemnation.
There is a growing movement for the U.S. Congress to look much like America. The argument goes that a representative government should resemble its constituents which would be better able to incorporate their perspectives when passing laws.
In the early years of American democracy, the halls of government were populated by White Christian men. Over time, women and Blacks were given the right to vote and ultimately began running for and winning seats in government.
The tapestry of America can be seen in a picture of the 117th Congress.
In addition to outward appearance is the lived realities of people’s experiences, feelings and emotional state.
There are Americans who are mentally unstable. Who are racists and misogynists. Who are psychopaths, anti-Semites and abusers. These individuals are represented by members of Congress and are also members of Congress. It was true when America was only governed by White Christian men and is true now with people with a spectrum of backgrounds.
America’s government looks and thinks more like swaths of America.
Some of today’s notable anti-Semites in Washington, D.C. are Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). While the passions of Jew haters have representation in government, are there enough people to properly represent Americans’ animosity towards Jews?
According to the Anti-Defamation League 2015 poll, 10% of Americans hold anti-Semitic beliefs. With 100 senators and 435 members of the House, the right number of anti-Semites in government should be 53 politicians. The three infamous anti-Semites may stand out because they have to pull above their weight. Americans may crave more voices disparaging Jews. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) seemingly know as much, and are leaning in to be carried by the tailwinds of hate.
A Congress that speaks and votes like the worst parts of America thinks, is being showcased by Representatives Omar, Tlaib and Greene today. They are a mirror of the ugliest parts of our society. That frame will only widen and darken should we fail to collectively change course.