On Aug. 17, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar posted a political cartoon drawn by the second-place winner of Iran's vile International Holocaust Cartoon Competition. If any question lingered about the motivational purity of these women's desire to visit Israel, this pulls off the mask.
Yet, left-leaning news sources such as The New York Times have not said a word about it. All we are hearing about is Trump's overbearing influence on Israel to refuse them entry. Such speculation is nothing but a well-calculated distraction from the unsavory truth, which is: Tlaib and Omar are anti-Semites.
If you don't think so, you are redefining anti-Semitism and ignoring its ancient markers. These women hit every bullet point. Dual loyalty. Jewish hypnosis. Holocaust distortion. Rewriting Jewish history. Global conspiracies about Jews controlling the world. Jewish money bribing the powers that be. And most importantly, boycotts of Jewish owned-businesses.
Shamefully, CNN has not mentioned Tlaib's support for advocates of Hezbollah, the terror group that currently has more than 130,000 missiles pointed at Israel and has, for the past 40 years, wreaked havoc on international Jewish institutions around the world in multiple terror attacks. We haven't heard an NPR report on Tlaib's outspoken support of convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two American students in Jerusalem in 1969.
Underlying reasons such as these are why Israel will not let them cross its border.
With all this talk of Trump's hateful rhetoric inciting violence, shouldn't we be holding our elected officials to the same standard? Yet, The Washington Post was silent when former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke lauded Omar on Twitter, defending and praising her anti-Semitism.
The Democratic party and its media mouthpieces continue to hold Israel to a double standard, persisting in selective moral outrage. Why else would they omit, as online Tablet Magazine and others have documented, that there is nothing unusual about democracies turning away foreign politicians? The Obama White House denied entry to Israeli politician Michael Ben Ari. The United Kingdom has prohibited Menachem Begin and Geert Wilders from visiting. And there are 16 Muslim countries that have a de-facto ban on all Israelis, whether politicians or ordinary civilians, and in some cases, Jews.
The truth is, Omar (D-Minn.) and Tlaib (D-Mich.) forfeited their rights to be treated as ordinary congresswomen the moment they rejected an invitation to join a bipartisan congressional delegation to visit Israel two weeks earlier. They opted to go separately, with their own agenda — an agenda that reveals this was no peaceful, diplomatic mission.
The women were not even planning to visit the Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem. Even worse, the trip was planned by Miftah, an organization that has been accused of encouraging violence against civilians and promoting neo-Nazi propaganda and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. One meeting included members of the PFLP, a designated terror group by the U.S., Japan, Australia, Canada and the European Union. In other words, Omar and Tlaib would have been in violation of U.S. laws by meeting with these groups. Why isn't MSNBC telling us this?
What about Omar and Tlaib's refusals to apply for visas to visit "Israel," instead listing "Palestine" as their destination? These two can't even bring themselves to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty, viewing the entire nation-state as illegitimate. Not a word from the Los Angeles Times.
Quick to play the victim card, Omar and Tlaib now peddle the lie that Israel turned them away because they are Muslim. But Israel regularly turns away advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, regardless of race or religion, in accordance with a law that prohibits entry to those who support a national boycott. Despite Omar's and Tlaib's insistence, BDS is not reminiscent of boycotts against South African apartheid; it is reminiscent of Nazi boycotts against Jewish-owned businesses. We need only look to the U.K., where Jewish-owned businesses are targeted and shut down as a result of BDS riots.
Contrary to the media-friendly cover story, BDS has never been a nonviolent liberation movement. In fact, if it were to be implemented in full, it would jeopardize Palestinian livelihood more than anything else it accomplishes. This is why so many Palestinians, including Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, have spoken out against it. The real aim of the movement, according to prominent BDS activist As'ad AbuKhalil, "is to bring down the State of Israel."
BDS advocates cram their social media pages with repackaged neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic propaganda, and recent investigations reveal the movement's ties to terrorist organizations such as the PFLP and Hamas, both of which call for the elimination of the Jews. Currently, BDS groups employ at least 30 former or current members of Hamas and the PFLP. BDS founder Omar Barghouti is on record encouraging violence against Israeli civilians and repeating the bigoted lie that the "Jews are not a people," despite their shared culture, language, religion, history and nation-state on a land where they have maintained a continuous presence for 3,000 years.
Let us be clear: Anti-Zionism is the denial of Jewish peoplehood, not criticism of Israeli policy. In the words of Judea Pearl, father of martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, "anti-Semitism targets Jews as individuals; anti-Zionism targets Jews as a people. Anti-Zionism would ban Israel from equal membership in the family of nations. If we examine anti-Zionist ideology closely, we see that its aims are: to uproot one people, the Jewish people, from its homeland, to take away its ability to defend itself in sovereignty, and to delegitimize its historical identity."
No one can claim the right to cross a sovereign border without approval. How ironic that in this case, it is a border Tlaib and Omar don't recognize. The media's distraction game is a sinister cover-up, a willful denial of the fact that two women who claim to share liberal values in reality, espouse the same views as the white supremacists they claim to despise.
Karys Rhea is a writer and musician living in Brooklyn. She is the New York associate of the Counter-Islamist Grid. Keren Toledano is an artist and writing instructor at The Cooper Union. She lives in Manhattan.