Much has been written about the proposed trip to Israel by Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
At the outset, I would say that 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. Something that Israel has not excelled at, to put it mildly, is handling controversy, countering criticism, and acting with an effective public relations strategy. Much of the problem concerning hasbarah is that 80 percent of the media is biased against Israel. It is very hard to wage a PR campaign when the decks are stacked against you.
Tlaib and Omar know this, and they 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 who became 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 Democratic deafening silence when it comes to these two is outrageous.
If Tlaib and Omar were allowed to take the trip to Israel, they would have wreaked havoc upon Israel every day of their time in Israel. It would have been three weeks of pure poison. They would have hit Israel with every lie, every distortion, and every exaggeration imaginable. It would have been an unmitigated nightmare. Although they were not allowed into Israel because of their aggressive pro-BDS views, much as others have not been allowed in for the same reason (14 so far have been denied entry, including an Israeli official, French politicians, and European parliamentarians), this was just part of the dark cloud they would have brought with them.
If one looks back at the “Freedom Flotilla” of 2010, and especially at the Turkish ship 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 do an inspection on the Mavi Marmara, it turned into a public relations disaster. Allowing Tlaib and Omar into Israel would have been a public relations debacle ten times worse. It quite possibly would have led to riots and bloodshed just like the Mavi Marmara.
The Democratic Party bears the bulk of the responsibility for the trouble Tlaib and Omar have caused. They essentially 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. The United States depends upon Israel to stabilize the Middle East. If Tlaib and Omar had their way, Israel would cease to exist and they wouldn’t care if the entire Middle East looked like war-torn Syria.
I would like either one to say that Israel is an important ally to the United States. I would like either one to say that Israel deserves America’s support.
Until they act in a more responsible way, they will continue to hurt the Democratic Party.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.