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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/22/19

Trump Tweets About Disloyal Jews, Then Tweets He's "King of Israel"

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MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Marc Steiner. Great to have you with us.

In Israel, the discussion is intensifying about the banning of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from coming to Palestine and Israel, and the deeply negative response of Democratic Party leaders to that banning. Now on top of that, we have this series of Trump tweets where he admonishes Jews that they are being disloyal if they support Democrats. Then he retweeted a comment about that he's the best thing that ever happened to Israel and the Jews, and that Trump should be the King of Israel. And he's all but accepted the crown in his retweets.

This all began with the banning of Omar and Tlaib by Netanyahu, and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's refusal to be silenced if she accepted Netanyahu's offer with his limitations. Omar said the United States aid to Israel must be conditional on Israel respecting human rights, echoing a similar statement by Senator Bernie Sanders.

Donald Trump, who called the two Congresswomen antisemitic, has now diverted his hate towards American Jews, alluding that if they voted for the Democratic Party, they're somehow traitors, as I mentioned a moment ago.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To lead with the tears. All of a sudden, she starts with tears, tears, and I don't buy it. I don't buy it. I don't buy it for a second because I've seen her in a very vicious mood at campaign rallies, my campaign rallies before she was a Congresswoman. I said, "Who is that?" And I saw a woman that was violent and vicious and out of control, and all of a sudden I see this person who's crying. Where's the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.

MARC STEINER: And Trump's latest tweets have been called antisemitic and have escalated the contradictions and battles over Israel, Palestine, the US aid to Israel, and has caused a major debate within the Jewish world. Joining us today is Haggai Matar who is the Executive Director of 972 Magazine, the online journal in Israel and Palestine. Haggai, welcome. Good to have you with us.

HAGGAI MATAR: Thank you, Marc. Good to be here.

MARC STEINER: So before we get into specifics about either one of these things, I just have to get your thoughts in this juxtaposition of the banning of these two women, the Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and how it's snowballing into these insane tweets by Donald Trump. And what you see that juxtaposition as before we even talk about either one in depth and how they fit together and what did they say to you.

HAGGAI MATAR: Well, I think they really connect with what we've been seeing for quite some time now, which is the question of where are we looking when we're talking about antisemitism. We've been seeing unfortunately more and more violent attacks on Jewish communities in the US and elsewhere by extreme right-wing individuals and groups that come from the Trump side of the political spectrum. And we're seeing statements just much like Trump's statement yesterday, kind of putting into question the loyalty of US Jews. And we're seeing all those things. And the same time, we see the Right kind of trying to say that the real antisemitism is not the people shooting and killing Jews in synagogues, but actually people who support Palestinian rights, justice, freedom, and democracy for Palestinians in Israel and Palestine, and the BDS is antisemitic and so on. I think that what we've been seeing this past few days is exactly around thatthe question of who's really antisemitic and what is really antisemitic?

MARC STEINER: So not to get too bogged down on this because I want to talk about the specifics here, but I'm just curious. You've been writing about things like this for a long time and covering stuff in Israel and Palestine for a long time as well. What does this mean for the future? What could come out of this when you have on the one hand, as you described, these vicious anti-Semites who are inspired by Trump in many ways not completely, but in many ways attacking Jewish places in this country and across the globe?

At the same time, you have this very right-wing government in Israel that now is talking about moving people out of Gaza and talking about not even recognizing and having their settlements become just part of Israel proper and the right-wing push. And then you have Trump making these tweets, his son-in-law being a major player in the Zionist movement in America and on the Right. And you also have now Trump with these tweets where he basically says, "Thank you, I want to be the King of Israel, I appreciate that," or whatever he does. So I mean, this is a very confusing moment. How do you see this playing out?

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