The release of a draft itinerary for the trip included meetings with the well-known anti-Semitic organization and one with ties to a known terrorist organization
On Friday, freshman Congressman Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) took to the airwaves in an attempt to downplay the latest in a string of anti-Semitic scandals brought on by his colleagues Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich).
Both Omar and Tlaib are now infamous for their numerous anti-Semitic statements that have drawn condemnation from Jewish community groups and congressional Democrats and Republicans alike.
Additionally, both Omar and Tlaib are leading opponents of Israel in the US Congress and support the BDS movement that calls for boycotts of Israel.
Their latest, seemingly manufactured scandal unfolded this week as Omar and Tlaib refused to go on a bipartisan, congressional delegation to Israel in favor of organizing their own trip sponsored by an organization called “Miftah”. In a nationally televised interview, Harley Rouda claims that the controversy surrounding their trip is unfounded and “ridiculous”. However, reports uncovered this week establish that Miftah is a well-documented, anti-Semitic organization that has repeatedly glorified suicide bombers and has republished neo-Nazi literature that blames a “poisonous” Jewish influence for America’s acceptance of mixed-race marriages and homosexuality.
Upon learning that this organization would be sponsoring Omar and Tlaib’s trip and that whilst in Israel they would be meeting with groups tied to a terrorist organization, President Trump sent out a string of tweets urging the Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu not to allow the Miftah-sponsored delegation to enter the country.
After reviewing the agenda for the trip and after learning who was sponsoring Omar and Tlaib’s trip, Israel denied the controversial lawmakers entry, sparking a hail of controversy and media criticism that conveniently made almost zero mention of the trip’s sponsor or Israel’s legitimate reasons to bar them entry.
Rouda, armed with his party’s talking points appeared via live satellite from Irvine, California and gave a full-throated defense of his liberal colleagues, stating he was “very disappointed” in President Trump and called the actions “outrageous”. Rouda then attempted to minimize the issue and change the topic.
Rouda’s pivot likely energized ardent leftists watching across the country, everywhere except in Rouda’s congressional district and the surrounding Southern California region still reeling from a deadly synagogue shooting in San Diego. Additionally, both the city of Irvine, where Rouda broadcast from, and the City of Newport Beach (in the heart of Rouda’s congressional district) have recently been host to anti-Semitic controversies that made national headlines. Last year, an Irvine synagogue was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti and just this March Rouda’s own district made national news when pictures emerged on social media showing local students performing Nazi salutes over a giant swastika. According to reports from the Anti-Defamation League, these events are in-line with a national trend of increasing anti-Semitism amongst younger generations.
During Rouda’s interview pundits failed to press him further on the sponsor of Omar and Tlaib’s trip, as did others in the mainstream media who conveniently made little mention of Miftah’s involvement, referring to the organization simply as a “nonprofit” or “Palestinian” organization. But to the New York Times’ credit, they ran an op-ed Friday that made clear Omar and Tlaib’s BDS movement is less about conditions in Palestine and is instead “anti-Semitism in hip, new clothes.”
The editorial goes on to expose the more mendacious motives of Omar and Tlaib’s trip, referencing Omar and Tlaib’s itinerary.
— Gili Cohen (@gilicohen10) August 15, 2019
Excerpt from the New York Times editorial:
That the congresswomen’s own widely circulated agenda billed itself not as a trip to Israel, but as a “U.S. Congressional Delegation to Palestine” says it all. If they really wanted to learn about Israelis and Palestinians they could have easily joined the 41 Democrats and 31 Republicans who traveled to Israel this month on the largest bipartisan congressional trip ever.
The rest of the sordid details of their trip leave no illusions about its purpose. It was, according to the Israeli government, being underwritten by Miftah, an organization that has proudly praised female suicide bombers and pushed the medieval blood libel.
The reference to “Blood Libel” is from a few years ago when Miftah was forced to apologize after weeks of resistance for publicly asking, “how President Obama could possibly support Israel and have a Passover Seder at the White House in light of the fact that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover.”
In response to this heinous statement, a coalition of Jewish groups pressured Miftah for weeks to retract the statement and remove it from Miftah’s website. Similar to Rouda, Omar and Tlaib’s current posture, Miftah first responded with indignation claiming that they were being smeared, but eventually caved after a hail of condemnation from both sides of the political spectrum.
In addition to the Blood Libel controversy, there exists a long line of abhorrent statements from Miftah. Everything from absurd claims that Israel tours the world killing children in Ukraine, Palestine and Haiti so they can harvest the children’s organs, to when Miftah posted a neo-Nazi manifesto titled: “Who Rules America: The Alien Grip on Our News and Entertainment Media Must be Broken”. In this writing, the author blames “the Jew-controlled entertainment media” for persuading Americans that homosexuality is a “normal and acceptable way of life” and that inter-racial marriage is acceptable. Both ideas the author describes as “poisonous”.
“But to permit the Jews, with their 3,000-year history of nation-wrecking, from ancient Egypt to Russia, to hold such power over us is tantamount to race suicide.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar has made substantially similar anti-Semitic statements about Jewish influence, stating “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel”. Omar has made several other anti-Semitic statements similar in rhetoric to Miftah’s neo-Nazi post, as well as arguably homophobic innuendo aimed at United States Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Rep. Omar: “Lots of Americans” agree with me that Trump is blackmailing Sen. Graham over his homosexuality pic.twitter.com/xPMAUHSLYE
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 17, 2019
Far more troubling, are other works by Miftah, such as “Let Us Honor Our Own,” where a Miftah contributor describes Dalal Al Mughrabi as a solider who became a national hero after being killed during a “military operation”. Sounds innocuous, but outside of Miftah’s extremist circles this military operation is known by everyone else as “The Coastal Road Massacre“, that killed 38 people including 13 children when Mughrabi (Miftah’s national hero), Abu Jihad and their PLO cell “Fatah” hijacked a civilian bus bound for Tel Aviv.
Passionate reverence for suicide bombers is not an isolated occurrence for Miftah, who has also heaped praise upon figures like Wafa Idris and Hanadi Jaradat, both suicide bombers. Jaradat ended the lives 21 people via suicide bombing in an Israeli restaurant, after she detonated a large explosive filled with shards of metal or shrapnel to increase lethality from the blast. Among the dead were four children, including an infant.
While the views of Omar and Tlaib’s sponsoring organization are abundantly alarming and would give any nation pause, two other components of the trip’s itinerary have been curiously absent from mainstream media coverage. First, at no point did Omar or Tlaib plan on meeting with any Israeli or Arab political figures from Israel’s parliament. Second, and far more alarming is that the trip’s itinerary included a meeting with an organization called Defence for Children International Palestine (DCI-P). DCI-P is a nongovernmental organization with numerous links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the entire European Union, Canada and Israel.
So to summarize, the sovereign state of Israel barred the entry of two foreign congresswomen on a trip sponsored by a viciously anti-Semitic organization. The reason Israel gave was that they passed a law that bars entry to anyone that supports the boycotting of Israel – which both congresswomen have publicly stated they do many times. Israel’s decision to enforce this law was made manifestly easier upon reviewing the trip’s agenda that failed to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation and contained meetings with terror-aligned groups.
In a public statement, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu stated:
“[T]he itinerary of the two congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it … In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.”
The Omar and Tlaib trip that Rep. Harley Rouda so vehemently defends, contrasts starkly with a bipartisan, congressional delegation to Israel earlier this month that visited both Israeli and Palestinian territories and actually met with both Israeli and Arab members of the Israeli Parliament.