By Arlene Bridges Samuels, Times of Israel—
Before and since January 2019 when Somalian American Ilhan Omar and Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib were sworn in as members of Congress, they have made their positions about the Jewish state crystal clear. Tlaib was outspoken from the beginning of her term that she was planning what I called in my January BLOG “her Apartheid trip to Israel” since that’s how she views the Jewish state. Let’s not forget that the duo chose not to come to Israel with the 32 Democrat freshmen class members of Congress who traveled to Israel for a week arriving on August 5.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely put it this way: “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision.” I salute her.
In off-election years, every freshman is invited on this trip hosted by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Their viewpoint on Israel did not disqualify them from the invitation. It was extended to ALL freshmen. Omar and Tlaib disqualified themselves when they said NO. So let’s stop all the ranting about how awful Israel’s leaders are for preventing them from entering their country. Put the responsibility where it belongs; with two members of congress who don’t play well with others and wanted no part of the trip with their colleagues.
Stop for just a moment and think about this. Had the duo joined their Democrat colleagues, the itinerary would have included meetings with Palestinian leaders and possibly Palestinian business leaders. Yet, they chose to let their disdain for Israel rule their decision. Not only that. They chose to disassociate themselves from their own Democrat party participants. And I’m sure they were aware that when the freshmen Republicans arrived-where both groups were scheduled to learn and travel together for two days-that they were not in favor of that bipartisan arrangement. Omar and Tlaib are not team players. They obviously did not want to be under the leadership of Steny Hoyer, the pro-Israel House Majority Leader leading the trip nor conform to the idea of positive interactions with Israelis..Jewish, Arab, Druze, Christian or Ethiopian. Since their contentious term began, they have already shown Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer that they refuse to rein themselves in and seek comity.
Omar and Tlaib’s high profile actions and words since January indicate that they don’t want to learn even how congress works, unlike most first-timers. It’s all about them and their aggressive agenda on many fronts. Having said that, it’s not hard to imagine their stance if they had stepped inside Israel. Continue reading…