Thursday, January 29, 2015

The War Within

In Texas, the state's Muslim community is trying to organize a day of lobbying, where the come to the state capitol and present their views on issues that matter to the community. One Republican state lawmaker, Molly White, has prepared the following greeting for any Muslim visitors which might stop by her office:
I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws. We will see how long they stay in my office.
The whole thing is patronizing (to say the least) and gross, but I want to focus on her decision to drag in the Israeli flag. apparently on the view that the "Israeli flag works on Muslims like Kryptonite to Superman."

Representative White no doubt thinks of herself as a supporter of Israel. But she isn't -- not really. When she presents Israel in this fashion --as a weapon against America's Muslim population -- she does violence to Israel's values and damage to its secure standing in the world. Does it matter to her? I doubt it -- she doesn't care about the country or its inhabitants (Jew, Muslim, or otherwise). She cares about her tool. She cares about her weapon.

Just this week Israeli President Reuven Rivlin went to the UN to deliver an emphatic defense of Islam, noting Muslim victims of terrorism and violence and proclaiming that "“neither the West, nor the Christians nor the Jews are at war with Islam." That's how Israel's President presents Israel. It is a presentation that reflects not just the view of the country's head of state, but the view of all of us who care deeply about Israel's future and passionately believe in its ability to protect the rights and respect the lives of all of its citizens. It is a view that doesn't get heard enough -- not because people like President Rivlin refuse to air it, but because people like Representative White drown it out. They rather have Israel be understood the way they want it to be understood -- ignorant (if not in defiance) of what Israelis and Jews around the world have to say on the subject.

UPDATE: The ADL has blasted Rep. White: "this kind of rhetoric and bigotry is antithetical to our cherished American values."

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