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Five “Obama scandals” that seem ridiculous in the Trump era

Obama scandals
  • The US has become so accustomed to the scandals of Donald Trump that some great Obama controversies now seem anecdotes
  • Obama received raging attacks for bumping fists with his wife, ordering Dijon mustard with the hamburger or taking a photo with a selfie stick

Obama scandals

United States policy is full of decisions that are subject to international criticism. But beyond its large measures of geopolitical or economic or human rights, presidencies are also marked by personal controversies that define the character in a country where leadership has a lot of charisma.

When Trump says he wants to put a pit with crocodiles and shoot immigrants on the border with Mexico, many voices rise up shocked, but drop by dropping their eccentricities are normalized. Besides Trump’s controversies, some of Barack Obama’s personal “scandals” seem ridiculous. Here, some picturesque examples.

That time he made a “terrorist greeting” with his wife

Before even being a candidate, Barack Obama already showed his sinister intentions, in Republican eyes. At a rally in Minnesota, he even greeted his wife not with a kiss on the cheek or a handshake, but with a clash of fists. Fists! A few days later, a FOX News presenter wondered on her show: “A clash of fists? A greeting? A clash of terrorist fists?” ED Hill never got to explain why bumping fist is a terrorist thing, but he did apologize. It was not worth much: the program was taken away that same week.

When he used a helmet to ride a bicycle

There are not many people who know that the 2014 war in Ukraine, for their adversaries, seemed to be Obama’s fault. The Russian invasion came a month after he committed the irresponsibility of putting on a helmet to ride a mountain bike. According to the theory of Bill O’Reilly, today fired for chaining sexual harassment with another, it was impossible for Putin to respect the US when Russian President took pictures riding on bareback and the American … put on a helmet to ride cycling! He practically went around asking Russia to invade a country, in his opinion.

When he put on a light suit

Provoke a Russian invasion, come in, but this … In August 2014, Obama left the press room of the White House wearing a coffee-colored milk suit. It wasn’t blue, nor black, it was beige. “Intolerable”. One of the star reactions on television was the one who said that with his choice of suit “he confirmed that he was a Marxist”, but there is an excellent trail of barbarities. The FOX News presenter who said Obama “looked like a circus tamer for lack of the top hat” also scores very high for his creativity.

When he ordered Dijon mustard on his hamburger

In the US, French fries are called “French potatoes”, except for a small period just before the Iraq War in which the House of Representatives decided that in their cafeteria they would be called “freedom potatoes”, to punish the wicked French who opposed the Bush invasion. That’s why one wonders what Obama thought when, on September 2009, he went to do something as American as eating a hamburger and had no other occurrence than to ask for it only with mustard … from Dijon. Not only did he not put ketchup on him, but he chose a French seasoning. They called him elitist.

When it was recorded with a selfie stick
We all thought that nobody could do anything more terrible than wearing a helmet, wearing a light suit or eating mustard, but in 2015 Obama recorded a video with a selfie stick in the White House. And meanwhile, he put weird faces in a mirror. The video was intended to convince young people to get medical insurance, but that did not soften the critics: “non-presidential,” “little presidential,” “lowers the presidency” …

A huge concern for the institution of the presidency that, four years later, has disappeared. Apparently, it is phenomenal for the presidential institution that Trump threatens his political rivals with jail or asks for a foreign country to influence elections in the United States.

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65% of the US population believes that racist opinions are more common since Trump’s election

Several people participate in the 31st annual march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr
  • Four out of ten respondents in a recent survey by the Pew Research Center think that racist opinions are more admissible than before the US president came to power.
  • 63% of the population believes that the legacy of slavery continues to affect the current position of the black community in American society.
  • Three-fourths of black and Asian respondents and 58% of Latinos say they have suffered discrimination or been treated unfairly.
Several people participate in the 31st annual march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr
Several people participate in the 31st annual march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. EFE

It was one of the most repeated warnings by organizations and activists after the arrival of Donald Trump to power. They feared that their xenophobic rhetoric would translate into an increase in racist episodes throughout the country. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center concludes that two-thirds of the US population, 65%, believe it has become “more common” for people to express racist opinions since Trump was elected president in November 2016. This percentage rises 76% and 75% in the cases of black and Latino people, respectively.

Four out of ten respondents, in addition, think that these types of comments are more admissible than before, according to the study, based on 6,637 interviews conducted at the end of January.

Likewise, more than half of the population surveyed, 56%, believe that the Republican leader has worsened interracial relations with his management compared to 15% who argue that they are better now. This is also the majority vision among those who suffer racism, that is, Afro-descendants, Hispanics or Asians interviewed – 73%, 69%, and 63%, respectively -, compared to 49% of the white population that think about it

The data contrasts, on the other hand, with the number of people who believe that there was progress in interracial relations when Barack Obama was president, which amounts to 37%, compared to 25% who think they deteriorated. “The vast majority of black, Hispanic and Asian people believe that the biggest problem is that people do not see discrimination where it really exists,” said the Pew Research researchers responsible for the study, Juliana Menasce, Anna Brown and Kiana Cox.

The results of the survey of the US research group reinforce the data provided by other organizations such as Southern Poverty Law Center, which have documented the increase in groups that spread hatred “against racial, ethnic and religious minorities” throughout the country. In 2018, they registered the existence of 1,020 groups, compared to 892 accounted for in 2015. FBI statistics analyzed by the Southern Poverty Law Center conclude that hate crimes skyrocketed to 7,106 in 2017, an increase of 17%.

Another report published by Pew Research on April 15 reflects that the number of Americans who argue that Jews endure discrimination in the United States has increased by 20% since 2016. However, Muslims are considered to face greater difficulties than other groups in society: 82% say that those who profess the Islamic religion are discriminated against.

63% think that the legacy of slavery still weighs
About six in ten Americans say that interracial relations are bad, according to the previous poll by the US center. 71% of black respondents share this vision. In fact, this population shows skepticism that at some point they will achieve equal rights with white people: half of the Afro-descendants surveyed believe that this option “is too unlikely.”

The data reflect, in addition, 63% of the interviewees consider that the legacy of slavery, abolished more than 150 years ago in the North American country, continues to affect the position of the black population in the current American society. This opinion is defended by a huge number of black respondents, eight out of ten, who also think that the country has not done enough to achieve racial equality.

Likewise, most people think that being black or Hispanic adds difficulties to people when it comes to getting ahead, compared to 59% who say that being white help. However, the perception here also varies between those who experience racism and those who do not.

Among those who argue that being black hurts when it comes to opportunities, Afro-descendant respondents are much more likely than whites to point out “racial discrimination, less access to well-paid jobs and less access to good schools” as main reasons. White, however, tends to point out “family instability and lack of good references to follow” as important obstacles for blacks.

The figures also show that a huge majority of the racialized population – about three quarters of the black community (76%) and the Asian community (75%), and 58% of the Latino community -, claims to have suffered discrimination or have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity “at least occasionally.”

The analysis of the US research group concludes that the degree of discrimination experienced by Hispanic people is greater the darker their skin. “Darker skin color is also associated with a higher probability of affirming that people have acted as if they suspected them as if they thought they were not intelligent, that they have been treated unfairly in work-related situations, which they have suffered insults or jokes or feared for their safety, “says Pew Research.

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“Don’t kill him, it’s just a beer”: the murder of an African-American teenager who shocked the United States

Several people participate in the 31st annual march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr
  • Dorian Harris, a 17-year-old African-American boy, was shot dead by a store clerk in Memphis after having a two-dollar beer.
  • Anwar Ghazali has just been convicted of the homicide, which caused protests and aggravated racial tensions in the southern city, which at the time of the event commemorated 50 years of the murder of activist Martin Luther King.

On March 30, 2018, Dorian Harris, 17, entered the store The Top Stop Shop in  Memphis, from which he left moments later with a beer in his hand, which was carried without paying openly, passing in front of the clerk. Immediately  Anwar  Ghazali came out from behind the counter with a gun in his hand and chased the young African-American, to whom he shot three shots in the street. Then it was placed back in the box to charge the next buyer. Harris’s body was found two days later by a neighbor who followed the trail of his blood. Neither the clerk nor the clients reported the incident to the police.

The murder shocked this city in the southern United States – which in those days commemorated 50 years of another murder, that of activist Martin Luther King – and multiplied the historic racial tensions in the state of Tennessee. A year and a half later,  Ghazali has been convicted of manslaughter this Thursday. The sentence, which will be issued next month, can mean up to 60 years in prison.

“Don’t kill him. Don’t kill him. It’s just a beer,” shouted Beverly Lovers on, one of the people who were in the store when the crime occurred, and whose testimony was heard this Thursday at the trial. Lovers on also assured the judge that he regretted not having denounced what happened.

“They just left him there to die and I believe, with all my heart, that if they had called the police and made known that they had shot someone, my grandson would be alive today,” said Harris’s grandmother, Effie Fitch,  in statements to the newspaper The Commercial Appeal.

In the days and months after Harris’s death, dozens of protesters protested in front of the store and organized a boycott of the business. In addition, relatives and friends of Harris mounted a candlelight vigil on the street where he died. The controversy caught the attention of Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Berenice A. King, who was in Memphis to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his father’s murder. On Twitter, the activist wrote: “If we do not value African-American lives and believe that Dorian’s life is worth less than an allegedly stolen beer, then we are not honoring my father with authenticity.”

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Ibram X. Kendi: “Racism and capitalism arise at the same time and have fed each other”

Don't kill him
  • “The term ‘non-racist’ not only has no meaning but also implies that there is a safe space outside where a person can be when there really is no neutrality,” he says.
  • “When you add the first and second amendments you have a mass murder, as happened in El Paso, ” he says.

It is a memory that still disturbs Ibram X Kendi. It was the 1990s and Kendi, a senior in high school, had to deliver a speech at a speech contest held in honor of Martin Luther King.

“When we think of the United States in the 1990s, we think of a period in the history of the country in which members of both parties [Republican and Democrat], people of all races, perceived that the rise of violent crimes between African-American youth, especially in city neighborhoods, was a consequence of a problem of African-American youth and the growing percentage of single-parent households, “he says. The historian describes this context: “Many people came to think that the root of the problem was that something was wrong with young African-American mothers.” 

“Both whites and African Americans thought that something was wrong with African-American youth: they did not give enough importance to education, they only thought about having sex and getting pregnant and” their parents had not educated them well. “That was the decade in which African Americans were labeled as  “superpredators Kendi had internalized these racist notions and embodied them in a speech to thousands of young people, mostly African Americans, and the public cheered him.

“On a day that should have served to value African-American youth – in fact, [the students] represented all the positive aspects of African-American youth – all I could think about was all the negative aspects of youth African American. I completely internalized all those racist ideas because most of them were instilled in me by adults, “Kendi says. 

Kendi is a sweet-voice giant, who collects dreadlocks in a ponytail and wears a suit with a handkerchief in his jacket pocket. This charismatic historian and writer are becoming one of the most prominent intellectuals who reflects on racism. He was born in the New York neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens, during the presidency of Republican Ronald Reagan. His parents met in 1970 at a conference focused on African-American theology, which he describes as “the notions that Christianity, for the African-American Christian, must be a form and a source of liberation, that Jesus is black, that God is black, that the Church must be relevant to the black community. “

His parents became pastors and instilled in him a fusion of Christian ideas and black power. As a child, I listened to his parents’ eternal debates about how to fight racism to ensure that African-American people “could be really free in the US.”

During his student stage, he changed his middle name. After learning the role played by the Portuguese explorer Enrique the Navigator in the slave trade, he decided that he no longer wanted his middle name to be Henry (Enrique in English) and became Xolani (‘be peaceful’ in the Zulu language). Later,  according to The New Yorker magazine, coinciding with his wedding, he and his wife decided to call themselves Kendi, which means “the beloved” in Meru’s Kenyan language.

With training in journalism and African-American studies, his doctoral thesis analyzed the radical black student movements of the sixties. In 2016 he won the National Book Award with the book Stamped from the Beginning Trampled from the beginning); an essay that seeks to tell “the definitive history of racist notions in the US”.

In the era of Donald Trump and populism, his new book, How to be anti-racist, could not be more necessary. In essence, it is a seemingly simple idea that, somehow, when read, allows us to understand an obviousness: anyone who really wants to fight racism should not identify as “non-racist” but as “anti-racist”. In fact, for Kendi, US history can be perceived as a struggle between racist and anti-racist ideas.

“I think that most people around the world are taught to believe and believe in themselves that they are not racist,” he explains. Even people who are manifestly racist are often not identified as such, says Kendi, from colonizers and slave owners to white nationalists of the 21st century. “I am the least racist person in the world,” said Trump, a racist president, in July. “I don’t think people realize that by presenting themselves as ‘non-racist’, they identify essentially in the same way as white supremacists,” says Kendi.

The affirmation of “not being racist” does not imply having to fight racism. On the other hand, being anti-racist implies internalizing a thought that directly confronts that of racism.

According to Kendi, racists argue that “some racial groups are better or worse than others,” while an anti-racist person “actively expresses that all racial groups are equal.” In his opinion, there is no middle ground. Either we support systems and policies that promote racial inequality, enthusiastically or passively, or we actively combat them. “Therefore, the term ‘non-racist’ not only has no meaning but also implies that there is this kind of safe space outside of which a person can be when there is no neutrality. Or we are racist or anti-racist,” Kendi keeps. For this reason, he decided to write this book, in which he explains why he could not define “non-racism” and wanted to answer those who asked: “

How to apply anti-racism

What implications does this reflection have in practice? On the one hand, American anti-racist movements have demanded that the damage caused to the racialized population be repaired during centuries of systemic oppression and injustice. His claim has been caricatured as the issuance of a blank check to African-American citizens, but in a 2016 manifesto, the Movement for Black Lives coalition detailed what it could mean: universal access to education for all African-Americans; income that covers your basic needs; a national curriculum that focuses on the legacy of colonialism and slavery; and access and control of food, housing, and land.

“The average wealth of whites in the US is approximately 10 times greater than that of African-Americans, so there is a huge racial wealth gap,” says the historian, who also adds that this gap is increasing. How would it be possible, Kendi asks, to reduce, not to mention, eliminate that gap without reparations? This reflection is an anti-racist idea in action.

What role do the media play in legitimizing racist ideas and their integration into society? Muslims, immigrants, and refugees face demonization and hatred, for the notions promoted by very different media groups, from Fox News to the British right-wing media. Kendi pauses and, with a slight smile and carefully measuring his words, states that “to begin with, the mainstream media must recognize that historically they have been a dissemination platform for racist ideas.” “Throughout history, the media have reproduced racist ideas, often without knowing it,” he emphasizes.

Then there is the question of how the extreme right has tried to shield hate speech, specifically the right to use public platforms to incite hate, on the grounds that it is “freedom of expression.” Kendi points out that it is worse than that: just as the second amendment of the US Constitution gives Americans the right to possess weapons that are then used to kill their fellow citizens, the first amendment, aimed at protecting freedom of expression, can safeguard the right to incite racism.

“When you add the first and second amendments you have a mass murder, as happened in El Paso, ” he says. Kendi refers to the situation of discrediting and talking without filters: shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater and cause a fatal stampede. In front of El Paso, Christchurch, Pittsburgh, and Utøya, what counterargument is there?

An incorrect idea about Trump is that his electoral victory came in the absence of racism and that, therefore, racism promoted by the State is a new phenomenon. Kendi argues that it is no accident that Trump’s victory came immediately after that of the first African-American president of the United States. In the era of Reconstruction that followed the American civil war, the “Radical Republicans” fought passionately for the equality of those previously enslaved. Then came the segregation and laws of Jim Crow, Ku Klux Klan, lynching and racist oppression. The historian believes that the notion of a “post-racial society” simply perpetuates the myth that inequalities are not caused by racist policies, “because we are post-racial, we no longer have a racial problem.” 

After all, history is not a story of constant progress, but of victories followed by setbacks and defeats. “It is crucial that we continue denouncing Trump’s racist attitudes, but at the same time, we must recognize that they reflect and represent the history of the United States and that, even if we free ourselves from Trump, we will not get rid of racism,” he says.

Trump has acknowledged that racism against African Americans, Muslims and Latinos is ubiquitous and has promoted a campaign based on this fact. However, racism did not begin with Trump. What about George W. Bush, who partly owes his presidency to the deprivation of the right to vote of African-American citizens of Florida? And what about your response to Hurricane Katrina? What about  Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill, which led to the “greater mass incarceration of racialized populations in US history”, or of their “welfare reform”, which excessively penalized minorities? What about Reagan, who vetoed sanctions against South Africa from the apartheid and used populist expressions impregnated with racist notions such as “queen of social welfare” [when referring to people who, in his opinion, abused public aid] to reaffirm the notion of unworthy African Americans?

What is most revealing of Kendi’s ideas is how racism and neoliberalism have been merged, which justifies the decline of the public sphere in favor of the market, deregulation and drastic reduction of taxes on the rich. After World War II, the consensus in the West was that society was full of collective injustices that could only be solved with collective solutions. This prompted the foundation of the welfare state and public health in the United Kingdom. In the United States, he staged the “Great Society” and the “War on Poverty” by Lyndon Johnson. Both in the Reagan era and in that Thatcher era the notion that problems such as unemployment or poverty were a matter of character and personal, moral defects. 

“This was a revolution against the idea that the root of economic and even racial inequalities were public policies,” says Kendi. “Therefore, these new revolutionaries argued that the problem was not politics, but people.” It was a convenient argument to rationalize the growing inequality: those above deserved to be there, as did those below. “The problem was these lower racial groups, although they did not use the term ‘inferior’; they only used populist expressions,” he emphasizes.

This explains, in part, the strong reaction of whites against minority struggles for equality. As the phrase says: “When you are accustomed to privileges, equality feels like oppression.” Kendi adds that “since they are convinced that equal opportunities exist, you will perceive the claim for true equal opportunities as an attack on you and your livelihood.”

In addition, Kendi argues, it was also convenient for them to divert responsibility for the injustices caused by the powerful. If people believe that immigrants, Muslims or African Americans are to blame “for they’re own economic and social problems,” politicians who have caused injustice no longer have to account. This thought also perpetuates divisions within the working class. “In the US the working class has never been cohesive, has always been fragmented among racial groups” and prevents weaving the solidarity ties that would be necessary to progress. Kendi is also clear that the stories of racism and capitalism cannot be separated. “Racism and capitalism emerged at the same time, in Western Europe of the fifteenth century,

The future of “anti-racism”

Kendi feels hopeful. It points to the rise of “the Squad” (‘the Squad’ in English), as a new generation of racialized young congressmen is known, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar. Trump has launched racist attacks, and has asked women who have US citizenship (three of them were born in the US) “to return to the places they come from, completely plagued by crime and made dust.” Meanwhile, his followers shouted, “give it back!”

Kendi believes that ‘the brigade’ embodies something that is especially threatening not only for Republicans who support Trump but also for many moderate and progressive Democrats. It represents this young and anti-racist movement among racialized people who question and want to redefine the United States. They are detested for being too young, too radical or having a too dark complexion. It is also claimed that they will destroy the United States. Instead, Trump presents himself as the antithesis and asks citizens: “In a context of the confrontation between us and them, who are you going to support?”

Ibram X. Kend
The four congressmen who suffered the racist comments of Donald Trump: Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley EFE

For all these reasons, the big question is: how to end Trump’s speech? The historian has no doubt: racism gave him the presidency and anti-racism will take it away. While Kendi has not publicly supported any Democratic candidate, he defends clearly Democratic policies such as Medicare for All. “[Universal public health] is an anti-racist measure, since blacks and other racialized people are by far the most unprotected groups and those most likely to fall very sick or die as a result of untreated health problems.”. It also defends the legalization of marijuana and the cancellation of student loans. 

A few days have passed since the death of the iconic American essayist and novelist Toni Morrison. Kendi finds inspiration in the writer’s legacy and acknowledges that the Nobel Prize for Literature books have had a profound impact on her work: “We cannot separate American literature from Toni Morrison, especially in the last fifty years.” The fact that Morrison has contributed to inspiring a new generation of anti-racist writers, such as Kendi, is hopeful in the present context of tension. Racism, together with economic and social injustice, is at the root of the current crisis in the US. Starting from Kendi’s thinking we have the opportunity to discover an antidote to the seemingly eternal political horror.

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The Israeli veto to two US deputies is no surprise

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the two Democratic congressmen to whom Israel prohibited entry into the country.
  • Israel’s veto to allow the entry of two Democratic congressmen has raised criticism even among supporters of the pro-Israeli right.
  • What happened reveals Israel’s policy against any dissent, which is not only treated as illegitimate but as illegal.
  • After banning him from entering the country, Israel allowed access to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who chose to reject him.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the two Democratic congressmen to whom Israel prohibited entry into the country.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the two Democratic congressmen to whom Israel prohibited entry into the country.

Anyone who follows the political news of Israel and Palestine could have imagined that this was going to happen. The decision to prevent the entry into Israel of a relevant American political representative was something that was going to happen. It was only a matter of time. That moment has finally arrived this Thursday with the decision of the Israeli Government, spurred by Donald Trump, to prevent the entrance of congressmen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib into the country.

This movement does not suddenly come from nothing. In 2017, the Israeli government passed the law prohibiting the entry into the country of supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. When Omar and Rashida Tlaib took office, having repeatedly expressed their support for the BDS movement, the question was raised as to whether Israel would deny them entry or not.

That this is in case a question shows how the Israeli government considers the opposition: it is not only illegitimate, it is also illegal. At first, it seemed that Netanyahu was going to avoid the diplomatic scandal. In July, his ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, explained that Congressmen Omar and Tlaib would be allowed to enter. However, Trump’s pressure and internal issues seem to have changed his mind.

As part of his re-election strategy for 2020, the president of the United States tweeted that the entry of Omar and Tlaib into the country would be “a sign of great weakness” by Israel, as the two Democratic congressmen “hate Israel and everything the Jewish people. ” Trump and his Republican party have made it clear that they plan to continue demonizing Omar and Tlaib in order to blur the image of the Democratic Party and scare away Jewish voters.

At the moment, that strategy – with little chance of succeeding – seems to have failed. The Democrats have not been the only ones to condemn the decision of the Israeli Government. Also the powerful US pressure group in favor of Israel AIPAC, as well as some Republicans, such as Marco Rubio.

Maybe Netanyahu did not imagine the reactions it would cause. The Israeli prime minister also faces a complicated reelection campaign and multiple corruption investigations. Denying the entrance to Congressmen Omar and Tlaib allows her to divert attention, away from her own scandals and defects, and put herself in her favorite pose of “protector of Israel” against her external enemies.

In the Netanyahu Executive, there are several members being investigated through criminal proceedings. It may not have been a coincidence that the decision to veto Omar and Tlaib was taken on the same day that the accusations for possible corruption were known against Aryeh Deri, the Interior Minister who signed the ban on entry to congressmen. In Israel, as elsewhere, ethnocracy and kleptocracy go hand in hand.

Between the American bureaucracy and the leading experts, there were numerous reactions of outrage and surprise to the veto against Omar and Tlaib. However, there is nothing unusual in the decision of the Israeli Government. For those who were not paying attention or preferred not to see what they had in front of them, it is an objective lesson about contemporary Israel.

Israel not only criminalizes those who support the BDS movement. The boycott against settlements has been considered a crime for years. Netanyahu and his successive administrations have turned human rights organizations into the wicked. The term left has become a qualifier that always appears next to the word traitor, or as a synonym. Arabs, Muslims and, especially, Palestinians, are considered from the outset as enemies and treated as such.

Calling threats to two US congressmen, one of the Palestinian and one black, Muslim, progressive and sympathetic to the BDS is absolutely consistent with the delegitimization of the dissent carried out by the Israeli Government. The daily rhetoric of security justifies measures of punishment and acts of violence against populations that are considered unworthy of basic rights: Palestinians, Africans seeking refuge and even Ethiopian-Israeli citizens.

Omar and Tlaib tried to enter Israel-Palestine on their own, without first having obtained the approval of the pro-Israeli establishment. They demanded the same treatment as their right-wing peers but the Israeli government refused to grant it. There are more things behind the veto. Tlaib is Palestinian. His parents were born in Palestine and his grandmother still lives there. Israel’s unilateral ban that prevents her from visiting her family home, despite being a US deputy, reflects the grave injustice of Israel’s border system. It should be enough to end any illusion that remains in this regard: in Israel-Palestine, there is nothing other than a single-state regime whose hierarchy of rights and privileges is based on ethnic-religious identity.

Unfortunately, what has happened to Tlaib is no exception either. Palestinians in the diaspora Israel routinely deny the possibility of visiting their families and ancestral homes. At the same time, Jews from anywhere in the world can become Israeli citizens with all rights.

If the pro-Israeli right was confident that the veto on Omar and Tlaib was going to protect Israel from threats against its legitimacy, the opposite has ended up happening. The pro-Israel establishment has widely condemned the decision of the Netanyahu Executive. It is clear that they would have preferred that Omar and Tlaib’s visit to Israel had passed without incident and prevented Israel from being so manifestly in evidence. But those skilled pro-Israel groups, concerned with maintaining support for Israel as a priority of the two parties, no longer have so much power. The policy for the Middle East of the Trump Administration is determined today by an alliance between evangelical Christians and the Jewish right in favor of the settlers.

That coalition does not need to satisfy both parties, something that would force them into unassuming concessions for the Jewish right. Like supporting the solution of the two states, if only in word. The newly strengthened Jewish right believes that the entire land of Israel is an exclusive gift from God to the Jewish people, that the conflict is a zero-sum game in which only one side can win, and that all criticism against Israel is illegitimate and anti-Semites

The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, represents this ideological current. His role has been instrumental in the Trump Administration’s position in the country. In statements about the veto to Omar and Tlaib, Friedman affirmed that the BDS movement was “nothing less than an economic war” designed to “destroy, ultimately, the Jewish state.”

The great irony of all this is that the Israeli government and the pro-Israeli right have just given notoriety and publicity to a BDS movement with a doldrums. BDS supporters believe that Israel must bear the consequences of systematically denying the basic rights of the Palestinians and that external pressure is necessary to democratize the current anti-democratic system of a single State in Israel-Palestine. Before the veto to the congressmen, it was already difficult to argue otherwise. Now it will be a little more.

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