As expected The Guardian published two full blown rants over the weekend concerning Israel’s refusal to allow congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to enter Israel due to their public support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
The Guardian’s editorial called barring their entry “a bad day for Israel, and a worse one for the US” while Emma Goldberg called it a ploy “to quiet anti-occupation activism”.
So far, so Guardian.
However, a piece by Oliver Holmes explaining why Tlaib had rejected Israel’s humanitarian offer to visit her grandmother had a moment of unexpected clarity when Holmes writes:
“The BDS movement seeks to end the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who account for almost a fifth of the population. It also demands that Israel allow several million Palestinian refugees and their families to return to their homes.
Israel argues the movement is antisemitic and seeks to dismantle Israel as a Jewish state by reducing its Jewish majority.” (emphasis added)
It’s rare to see Israel’s argument laid out in any news article let alone in The Guardian. Holmes shows that Israel’s refusal to allow Tlaib and Omar entry isn’t simply “to quiet anti-occupation activism”.
While it is valid for Tlaib and Omar to discuss how to end the so-called “occupation” and how to end any discrimination in Israel, not just that related to Israeli-Arabs, the BDS Movement’s demand that “Israel allow several million Palestinian refugees and their families to return to their homes” is the reason why Israelis and diaspora Jews should feel reassured that Tlaib and Omar have been barred entry to Israel.
This so-called Palestinian right of return would “dismantle Israel as a Jewish state” by reducing Jews to a minority in Israel. Jews worldwide would be plunged back into a pre-Holocaust situation of having nowhere to escape to should the need arise again. (This point is irrespective of the fact that most Palestinains have never lived in Israel and, therefore, have no “right of return” anyway.)
As you can see from the BDS website, below, the Movement would like 7.25 million Palestinians to enter Israel:
This demand speaks volumes for the BDS Movement’s real concerns. It isn’t a concern for Palestinians because, on the premise that Israelis would resist removal of their Jewish national self-determination, there would be bloodshed on both sides.
At its core the BDS Movement seeks the annihilation of Israel, so there really is nothing for Israel to discuss with Tlaib and Omar except the size of the coffins Israelis and Palestinians should be buried in. The Guardian should point this out to its readers more emphatically so they get the full picture.