Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Seemingly Eternal Pro-Palestinian Charade - by Aaron Kliegman

Pro-Palestinian activism is too often a charade, masquerading as an effort to protect human rights when, in reality, it is a campaign to attack Israel, the Jew among nations. But worry not: Ilhan Omar will surely talk about the Palestinians in Syria soon enough.

Aaron Kliegman..
08 March '19..

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) has tried to couch her recent anti-Semitic comments as legitimate criticism of the Israeli government. Omar's progressive colleagues in Congress have done the same, saying that charges of anti-Semitism are meant to stifle debate about Israel. This defense is of course absurd: accusing the world's only Jewish state of cosmic evil and judging it by a standard different from that applied to all other countries are, historically, the two key features of anti-Semitism. But push aside the facts for a moment and assume their defense is serious. Why do Omar and like-minded progressives criticize Israel so often? Why do they oppose the Jewish state so reflexively, with such visceral hatred? Many of them justify their activism as support for the rights of the weak and oppressed Palestinians, who, they argue, suffer under Israel's rule. In other words, Omar and her allies say they largely oppose Israel because they are pro-Palestinian. The truth, however, is that many of these progressive voices in the media and on college campuses—and increasingly in Congress—who claim to be pro-Palestinian do not actually care about Palestinian rights—unless of course they can attack Israel.

This week, amid the current national uproar over Omar's anti-Semitic comments, and over the Democratic Party's shameful failure to condemn them, it is curious that Omar and her defenders have hardly mentioned the Palestinians. Yes, a few lawmakers included brief nods to the Palestinians in statements, but their overwhelming energy was devoted to justifying Omar's use of anti-Semitic canards—including the charge that Jewish Americans put Israel's interests above America's—as legitimate criticism of the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world on Thursday, when House Democrats pushed a resolution obfuscating Omar's anti-Semitism, dozens of displaced Palestinians who were forcibly deported and now live in horrid conditions wrote emails crying out for help, expressing concern about their children's futures. "What monsters those Israelis are!" supporters of Omar might say. But, to their great inconvenience, it turns out that Israel has nothing to do with these suffering Palestinians. In fact, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad displaced these refugees from southern Damascus, and they are now "struggling for survival in impoverished refugee camps" in northern Syria, according to the London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, a human rights watchdog that received emails from the Palestinians. Where is the outcry from pro-Palestinian activists, in the West or elsewhere?

(Continue to Full Column)

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