Donald Trump has made his pet peeve for the 2020 presidential campaign. The US president has convinced his ally Benjamin Netanyahu to do the same. US Congressional Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were banned from entering Israel on Thursday (August 15th). The prime minister justified this decision with a law that applies to those who, like the two Muslim women, support the boycott campaign targeting the Jewish state.
However, it was after repeated pressure from the US president that Benjamin Netanyahu, who was ready to let the two Democratic leaders join a few days ago, gave way. Donald Trump, who asked them last month to "go home" (one is of Palestinian origin and born in the United States, the other was born in Somalia, Ed), has once again accused to "hate Israel and all the Jewish people". In a tweet, he said the Jewish state would show "great weakness" if it allowed Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to make their long-planned visit to the Occupied Territories.
It would be great if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
For Donald Trump, a candidate for re-election, the goal is clear: to target the leftmost, most divisive, and least popular members of polls to sow division among Democrats, galvanize his pro-Israel base and woo the world. Jewish electorate. Yet, everything does not go as planned.
Democrats are blocking
First, the Democrats stand behind Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Even moderate Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader in the House of Representatives, who is often criticized by these far-left party leaders, defended Israel's decision as "very disappointing".
Moreover, the two Muslim representatives are certainly less popular than other members of the party at the national level, but they are not pariahs, however. According to a YouGov poll survey, Ilhan Omar has 28% positive opinions against 34% negative opinions, while his colleague Rashida TlaIb has 26% positive opinions against 30% negative opinions. Half of the independents do not know who they are. As for Donald Trump's electoral base, she already hated them and will probably continue to do so.
>> Read also: The four US parliamentarians who stand up to Donald Trump
Those who vaguely supported them, on the other hand, could have more sympathy for these two women regularly attacked by aggressive tweets of the American president. Conservative commentator Guy Benson notes that "the big thing about Omar and Tlaib is to complain and pretend to be victims". According to him, the approach of Israel, encouraged by Donald Trump, thus gives them reason.
The presidential function damaged
This decision is also criticized by several pro-Israel Republicans. "Denying them entry to Israel is a mistake," tweeted Florida senator Marco Rubio. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel American organization very close to the Republican Party, she has also distanced herself. While recalling its opposition to the two elected representatives, AIPAC said that "every member of Congress should have the opportunity to visit and know our democratic ally Israel".
We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib's support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib's calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of the Congress should be able to visit our democratic Israel firsthand.AIPAC (@AIPAC) August 15, 2019
As for the Jewish electorate, mostly Democrat, it is not obvious that he rallies to Donald Trump. According to a survey conducted in May by the Jewish Electorate Institute, 71% of American Jews are dissatisfied with the handling of the issue of anti-Semitism by the head of state. And 59% of them believe that Donald Trump is "partly responsible" for the deadly shootings in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Poway, California, synagogues.
More generally, the opponents of Donald Trump reproach him for having once again damaged the presidential office. "Risking, so cynically, the special relationship that unites the United States with Israel, for the sole purpose of teasing the reactionaries of its base, to press so roughly on a foreign leader to punish his own political opponents , to show so little respect for the most basic democratic principles, it is new, even for him ", thus denounce the editorial writers of the New York Times in a tribune.
Benjamin Netanyahu does not escape criticism either. He too is under pressure on the eve of the legislative elections in September, he seeks to appear strong against his right wing. Left to antagonize the Democratic Party and risk weakening relations between his country and the United States. The fact that he gives in to the pressure of a foreign leader may, however, be considered an act of weakness. "If he showed his openness and confidence in welcoming hostile US representatives, Israel would seem much stronger than barring entry," said Guy Benson.
The political objective behind this entry ban - namely Israel's defense of the boycott movement - may even prove counterproductive and, on the contrary, motivate criticism of the Jewish state. Ilhan Omar thus felt that the Israeli decision was not a surprise coming from Benjamin Netanyahu, "who has consistently resisted peace efforts, which has restricted the Palestinians' freedom of movement, which has limited the public's knowledge about the brutal reality of the occupation, which has aligned itself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump ". If Ilhan Omar is used to such statements, it is clear that it has enjoyed an unprecedented media coverage.