With a general election just three weeks away we might all be forgiven for paying little attention to what is happening across the Atlantic.
The fact is that in less than a year’s time American electors will go to the polls either to re-elect the Republican Donald Trump for a second presidential term or to eject him from the White House and put a Democrat in his place.
That election will have a much greater impact on the Jewish world than the one we in the UK are about to face.
In November, 2018 the mid-term American elections resulted in the Democrats gaining a narrow majority in the House of Representatives — the ‘Lower House’ of the American legislature.
For Trump this has caused a number of problems. He has had to put on hold some of his most cherished policies, notably the building of a wall along the entirety of the Mexican border.
But for Israel the Democrat victory in snatching control of the Lower House has also brought its challenges.
Under the leadership of President Barack Obama the Democratic Party adopted an openly hostile policy towards Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.
In declining to veto UN Security Council resolution 2334 (December 2016) the Obama administration deliberately condemned as illegal Jewish control of even the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and of the Western Wall.
But the Trump administration has taken important steps to counter the practical impact that 2334 might have had: notably by redeeming Trump’s promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and by appointing to head that embassy an orthodox Jew [David Friedman] known for his forthright defence of Jewish interests on the West Bank.
Now, however, a new challenge has appeared to the unashamed philosemitism of the Trump presidency.
The 2018 mid-terms saw the election to the Lower House of four women ‘of colour’ (so-called), all returned under the Democrat banner — the self-styled ‘Squad’.
I refer to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).
In broad terms the Squad is reflective of a resurgence of anti-capitalist sentiment within Democrat ranks.
But another of the Squad’s characteristics is its antipathy to the Jewish state and — in some respects — to Jews
In these contexts I want to consider the August, 2019 decision of the Israeli government to bar Tlaib and Omar from entering Israel.
Every sovereign state has the right to determine who can and cannot enter territories under its control.
The UK government has from time to time prohibited entry to persons whose presence it deems prejudicial to national interests. So has America.
In denying entry to Omar and Tlaib, the Israeli government was not only acting within its powers. It had very good grounds for so doing.
Omar has, by her own admission, voiced grossly offensive antisemitic sentiments.
In 2012, she tweeted “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel” — a breathtaking harkback to the antisemitic trope that Jews use hypnosis to achieve world dominance.
During her 2018 election campaign she tiptoed around the issue of BDS, but once elected she told a Jewish website [tcjewfolk.com ] that she did indeed “believe and support the BDS movement”.
As recently as last February she had to apologise for a Tweet in which she had declared that American support for Israel was fuelled by Jewish money.
“It’s all about the Benjamins,” she had declared — a reference to the image of Benjamin Franklin on American $100 bills.
Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, is a vocal BDS supporter.
She was one of only 17 members of Congress to have voted against a Lower House resolution (passed overwhelmingly last July) condemning the BDS movement.
When, on humanitarian grounds, the Israeli government indicated its willingness to permit her to undertake a purely private visit to West Bank relatives, she declined the offer.
Rank-and-file Democrats have been busy exploiting this incident in order to attract the support of black, Latino and other minority ethnic groups.
The fact is that the visit that Tlaib and Omar were to have made to Israel was sponsored by Miftah, an antisemitic terrorist-loving Palestinian lobby.
Tlaib could have made a purely private, low-key visit to her West Bank relatives. But that was not what she wanted, was it?
If you have relatives or friends who are American voters, you should warn them against voting Democrat next year, as I am doing.
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