“Chazak! Chazak! Venischazeik!” (Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!)
– The customary conclusion of the congregation at the conclusion of the five Books of Moses
The recent decision by Netanyahu to ban Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel angered me, but it did not really surprise me. Over the years of being Muslim, I have heard endless rants about how out of control Israel, AIPAC, and the Zionist Israelis are, how they influence our government, how they undermine our democracy. It was with great surprise that I learned, as I followed up on the news, that it was a result of our very own traitorous president’s attacks on his own government that Netanyahu made this decision.
According to the New York Times, even The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) stated that they think it is a mistake because they believe that “every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.” There was bipartisan disapproval of the decision by many in the US, and many in Israel were not happy about the decision either.
Why Did Netanyahu Make This Decision When so Many Advised Him Against It?
Why indeed? Because President Trump is inflaming hatred of his enemies, and hatred between people. Trump lobbied and pressured Netanyahu, and that is the reason for the decision.
I personally am vehemently against the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. I am a member of “Jewish Voice for Peace”, an outspoken organization of Jews that are working for the rights of the Palestinians. I have many friends who are actively involved in interfaith work and have had bosses, and good friends, who are Jewish. I myself am a quarter Jewish, my grandfather being a Jewish man from a family of New York Jews. I have a deep and abiding love for the tradition of Judaism, the commitment to justice of the Old Testament, the righteousness and beauty of the traditions of Rabbinical Judaism and the Jewish faith. I have read the Five Books of Moses in their entirety, several times. and too many times to count in selected readings. Not only was this decision to ban our Congresswomen from Israel not a decision made based on Judaism, it wasn’t even really made by the Israelis.
So What’s The Pattern in Question?
This decision by Trump to attack Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a reflection of two of the fundamental and toxic patterns of Trump’s presidency: Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, and a deep seated pattern of traitorous behavior that violates the fundamental integrity of our government and our democracy. Both of these patterns threaten the peace and security of our country and our world.
First, Islamophobia and racism. When we look around the world since Trump has become president, we see an aggressive pattern of attacks on Muslims. The horrific attacks on the Uighur in China, and the horrific attack on Kashmir by the Indian Armed Forces, these types of betrayals of the peace and safety of peaceful, law-abiding citizens are supported and driven by Trump’s aggressive Islamophobia.
The decision to attack two Muslim Congresswomen reflects a horrific misunderstanding of our world. We are diverse. The idea that he would tell US citizens to “go home” because they are of color, when most of them were born here and all have been citizens longer than his wife, whose immigration status remains in question, is appalling. We are a diverse country, enriched and strengthened by our diversity, vibrant and powerful because of our diversity. To attack our very own Congresswomen because the president is blinded by his racism is horrific, and un-American.
This decision by Trump to attack Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a reflection of two of the fundamental and toxic patterns of Trump’s presidency: Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, and a deep seated pattern of traitorous behavior that violates the fundamental integrity of our government and our democracy.
The second toxic pattern in question is a pattern of colluding with foreign governments to undermine the democracy of the United States. The collusion with the Russians in the election, the decision to question our own intelligence community, and now the decision to encourage a foreign government to attack our own elected representatives reflects a lack of loyalty to our country that is incredibly disturbing and, basically, treasonous.
An American Tragedy: Betrayal in the White House?
It occurs to me, looking at the tragedy of the Muslim community and the human community around the world right now, how desperately we need a new leader, one who leads with kindness, and promotes unity, not division.
Our environmental crisis is so unprecedented and terrifying, and yet Trump denies that global warming is even real.
Incredible suffering by people of color and all minorities is evident in our society today, and yet he has used a KKK slogan to galvanize support for policies which consistently target people of color. His policies and rhetoric have inspired too many white supremacist terrorists to count at this point, to the point that we are all now familiar with the concept of “domestic terrorism.” Terrorism that is, most of the time — not rarely, but most of the time — directly connected to our President.
The rights of women are so openly attacked everywhere, and the struggle for women’s rights so important, and yet he is accused, according to PBS, by 16 women of sexual assault, including a 13-year-old child.
This latest treasonous behavior of encouraging a foreign government to ostracize US Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib is nothing new. It is totally consistent. But it is a blatant and vivid reminder that our president is a disgrace to the Oval Office and a traitor. He is unfit to lead the United States of America.