On 14 July, Donald Trump launched a Twitter rant, telling progressive US congresswomen from minority communities to “go back” to their home countries (they are all US citizens, and only one was born abroad). But far from apologising, he doubled down; and he tried to use Israel as an excuse for his racist comments.
‘Apologise to Israel’
the President’s words [yesterday], telling four American Congresswomen of color “go back to your own country,” is hallmark language of white supremacists.
They talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of thugs, not victims of the entire region.
He also argued that:
they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.
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And he asked them to:
apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President
All of the women of colour whom Trump targeted in his tweets recently backed the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. This sought to “block funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel”. These politicians have also consistently criticised the Israeli occupation, in stark contrast with Trump’s shamelessly pro-Israel stance.
Trump’s complicity with the Israeli occupation
Trump has also called for official recognition of Israel’s authority over stolen Syrian land. And he has formed a close relationship with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the man who oversaw Israel’s war crimes during its 2014 attack on Gaza (the one that reportedly killed at least 1,483 Palestinian civilians).
The women Trump targeted in his Twitter rant, on the other hand, have been outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation. Rashida Tlaib – the first Palestinian-American woman ever to enter the US House of Representatives – has openly opposed the current Israeli government’s “apartheid policies”. Ilhan Omar, meanwhile, proudly supports the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. She has also faced consistent smears (and attacks from Trump) for her pro-Palestinian stance, responding:
I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
Be more American… by apologising to this specific foreign country
Many Twitter users were quick to call Trump out for playing the Israel card:
Go back to the foreign countries from which you supposedly came, and also issue an apology at once to this particular foreign country, which definitely DOES NOT exert unique influence over the US government! pic.twitter.com/HErga3udgQ
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 15, 2019
The fact that Trump thinks all he has to do is shout “Israel” to distract from his lying and racism speaks volumes about how he and the right-wing regard it as little more than a political tool to be used for partisan purposes https://t.co/qFiK6RNOSZ
— Dylan Williams (@dylanotes) July 15, 2019
Clearly, this is a deliberate strategy. Trump is tripling down on the attacks & throwing in Israel to whip his base into a frenzy to defend him for his most recent completely racist, inappropriate comments.
And the GOP cowards remain silent. 🤬 https://t.co/D1x43G32mx
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) July 15, 2019
2) Members of Congress, like the President, owe their loyalty to the US and its Constitution and NOTHING ELSE. Period. To suggest otherwise is to demand dual loyalty. pic.twitter.com/KCpcjSC3Ox
— Debra Shushan🔸דבורה שושן🔸دبرا شوشان (@ShushanAPN) July 15, 2019
Guess what…they dont represent Israel. Being unsupportive of the corrupt Benjamin Netanyahu is no more anti-Isreal than being unsupportive of Trump is unAmerican
— kapalm (@kapalm728) July 15, 2019
Does President Trump think US citizens, Congresspeople, should be stripped of rights and citizenship for criticizing Israel? America First?
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) July 15, 2019
You don’t get to use Israel to justify your racism. pic.twitter.com/FDsgk65unC
— Andy Levy-Stevenson (@andyls) July 15, 2019
Trump’s racist attack was transparent – as was his summoning of Israel to try and justify it. He wants to shout down progressive, pro-Palestinian voices. And that means firing up his base to troll them – using all the racist dogwhistles in his toolkit to do so.
Fascism is here – and Trump is its global cheerleader. It’s the duty of all progressives everywhere to mobilise against them.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/US Embassy Tel Aviv
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