Condemning Trump’s bigotry does not make you any less of a bigot, Netanyahu

Published: December 11, 2015

Netanyahu decried Trump’s call to shut down entry of all Muslims to the United States.

When Benjamin Netanyahu wags his finger at Donald Trump for his bigoted remarks against Muslims, a simple eye roll should suffice as political commentary. But it’s not difficult to explain exactly why we’re dumbstruck by the irony of the Israeli prime minister’s statement.

Joining a chorus of condemnations from world leaders, Netanyahu decried Trump’s call to shut down entry of all Muslims to the United States, adding:

“The state of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”

Having wiped off the coffee we’d accidentally sprayed upon our computer screens, liberals around the world marvelled at such straight-faced deceit. This joins a long list of official Israeli claims that are demonstrably untrue, like Israel not possessing nuclear arsenal.

Indubitably. *Wink*

Israel has been practically applying many of the Republican-approved profiling methodologies for years; except that it has the political sense to not regularly boast about them on world stage. Israel is renowned for social and political policies that discriminate against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims – that Netanyahu either inherited from his preceding regimes, or established under his own.

That’s not my opinion. That’s the position of the US consulate in Jerusalem:

“US citizen visitors have been subjected to prolonged questioning and thorough searches by Israeli authorities upon entry or departure. Those whom Israeli authorities suspect of being of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin… may face additional, often time-consuming, and probing questioning by immigration and border authorities, or may even be denied entry into Israel or the West Bank.”

In 2012, an article appeared in the New York Times, with a title that precisely contradicts Netanyahu’s baffling claim. Penned by an Israeli citizen married to a Palestinian woman, it explains in harrowing detail, the “logistical nightmare” they face when traveling into or out of Israel or the Israel-occupied West Bank.

The author, Yousuf Munayyer, embodies the frustration of countless Palestinians, and their Israeli family members. If anything, it may be assumed that his wife’s marriage to an Israeli citizen likely affords her a few ounces of privilege that are denied to Palestinian citizens generally.

A Jewish person, from anywhere around the world, can move to Israel, citing the ‘Return of Return’ policy. If Netanyahu’s statement is to be trusted, one must presume that it’s equally uncomplicated for a Palestinian refugee to return to his own land in Israel or its occupied territories.

Ahmed Tibi, a member of the Israeli parliament, condemned Trump as his prime minister did, but added that,

“The things he said are not unfamiliar to some of those here who serve in the Knesset.”

This is monstrously true. Earlier this year, the Deputy Interior Minister of Israel, Yaron Mazuz of Netanyahu’s Likud party, demanded the Arab members of the Knesset hand over their ID cards, saying:

“We’re doing you a favour by letting you sit here!”

Even in Pakistan’s climate of intense religious and ethnic intolerance, it is difficult to conceive a Member of National Assembly (MNA) telling the ‘Pakhtun’ members of the parliament to turn over their IDs and get out.

There are statements that are ignorant, and statements that are deliberate and outright lies. And few understand that better than Netanyahu himself, who famously complained about Arabs coming out “in droves” to vote against his “right-wing government”, implying that the elections were a fist-fight between Arabs and Jews, as the political opinions were firmly divided along racial lines.

Trump’s greatest sin, ultimately, is dragging the political arena so far to the right, that the most dangerous right-wing bigots of yesterday now look like mild-mannered centrists.

Lindsey Graham, who ignorantly said that everything in the Middle-East starting with the word ‘Al’ is “bad news”, is now being applauded for telling Trump to “go to hell”.

Dick Cheney, the iconic pro-war, pro-torture, and pro-shooting-friends-in-the-face ghost of the Bush administration, now seeks redemption by mouthing ‘tsk-tsk’ at Trump’s anti-Muslim comments.

Condemning an obviously bigoted statement like Trump’s is not the litmus test for being a ‘good person’. That is basic decency expected from all semi-literate people of the 21st century.

Trump – in many ways – is Netanyahu’s flamboyant Israeli twin; one who brashly vocalises the kind of discriminatory policies that the Likud party often seeks to implement in the shadows.

Let us now pray that Netanyahu’s statement marks the final act of the condemnation-circus put on by world leaders for cheap applause, as they continue walling, repelling, and bombing Muslim populations in places that mainstream cameras do not explore.

Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (twitter.com/FarazTalat)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Noman Ansari

    Good piece, Faraz.Recommend

  • Brutus

    You can’t blame Israel for strictly scrutinizing visiting Muslim Americans given the intense hatred that ordinary Muslims carry for the Jews/Israel and the constant terrorist threat they face. As for Netanyahu and American right wing politicians’ criticism of Trump is concerned, it’s going to be a temporary phenomena, because latest polls in the U.S suggest that, as many as 64% Republican voters and 37% common uncommitted voters expressed their support for Trump and his policies. Public opinion, after all, is bread&butter of all politicians. Therefore, don’t be surprised if Republican right wingers fall in line and queue up behind Trump.
    Instead of finding faults with Trumps, Grahams and Dick Cheneys, Muslims should introspect as to why ordinary non-Muslim people have formed such a negative image of Muslims and Islam as well. If something is not done to change things, pretty soon, I am afraid, Donald Trump will be looking like a mild mannered centrist dove!!Recommend

  • rationalising argument.

    faraz sliding towards mullarchy?Recommend

  • It is Written So be It

    Great job Faraz, for bringing out all their outrageous ‘double-standards and hypocrisy’…!Recommend

  • bigsaf

    Not to forget comments from Netanyahu’s son and former right hand man Avigdor Lieberman…apart from the whole apartheid thing and past and present actions like the Gaza attacks and Al Aqsa mosque crisis now.Recommend

  • Brain Think

    Pakistan’s fascination with hating the Americans, Israelis and the Indians never dies down.

    Pakistan’s fascination with loving the Saudis and the Iranians also never dies down.Recommend

  • Time Is Up

    “A Jewish person, from anywhere around the world, can move to Israel,
    citing the ‘Return of Return’ policy. If Netanyahu’s statement is to be
    trusted, one must presume that it’s equally uncomplicated for a
    Palestinian refugee to return to his own land…”

    Arabs from old Palestine should return to Jordan the true Palestine and not to Israel.

    Israel has substanial Muslims and can travel anywhere. Muslims are thriving, unlike other Muslim nations where minority non-Muslims are marginalized.Recommend

  • siesmann

    The people you mention, at least, have the courage to confront and condemn Trump.Has any major figure from the Muslim nations or any of their Government even registered their indignation at what Trump said.You,just like Muslims in general,have a “Lal Topi Syndrome.”.Where is your piece on what Ahmadis have been suffering ,and have recently suffered.from?You people have made them pariahs in their own homeland.Recommend

  • Rohan

    Pakistanis these days are
    Addicted to playing the victim card and calling anybody and everybody an anti Muslim bigot
    Would help if they looked in the mirror and then looked at the conditions of baloch,pashtuns,Shia and Ahmadi Muslims let alone Hindu,Christians and Sikhs in their countryRecommend

  • shiva the destroyer

    Netanyahu is a bigot?
    Cos he is a jew?

    Here is what I think

    Pakistan should let in more and more Afghan refugees as long as Afghan doesn’t become stable

    Afterall I believe Afghans have more rights over Pakistan than those Pakistani Punjabi converts. Afghans have ruled over Pakistanis for centuries and gave them their identity and religion (by force)
    Recommend

  • Ajay

    I have a question for my young, educated Muslim friends. I am putting down the questions , I am unable to find a reasonable answer, with no offence meant to anyone. Please answer.
    The way religion is practiced in Muslim Countries is poison for society. It creates more division in Society than good. I dont understand why should Muslim majority nations call themselves Islamic Nations? At the same time they adopt Sharia selectively. There is agitation going on in Pakistan to adopt Sharia fully by some religious heads. The moment religion is used in governance, these elements are bound to raise head. What the ISIS is trying to achieve is just a larger version of Islamic Nation, which in fact is somewhere in Muslims religious texts or beliefs. No other religion in present time mixes religion in Governance, other than Islam. Why cant Muslim majority nations first become Secular and Democratic? Religion is the way to become spiritual and achieve divinity and to be practiced in private. Not to be flaunted as a brand or to rule over others. At least this is the call of modern times when people are educated. The most hippocratic thing is when these Muslims go to foreign countries they want secularism.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Ha, ha….a case of the pot calling the kettle black.Recommend

  • Vish

    Guess this line applies to all Pakistanis, both the extremists who have persecuted non-Muslims and the moderates who silently support the persecution, for eg. by happily signing on to anything that ostracises Ahmadis. Maybe the author first needs to heal himself before casting stones at others. Let him start by refusing to accept the Pakistani passport till the Ahmadi clause is revoked, till non- Muslim Pakistani citizens are allowed to occupy Pakistan’s highest constitutional posts. Even a ‘bigot’ like Netanyahu does not ask to discriminate between Israeli citizens, irrespective of their religious faith. Maybe the author needs to propagate some of Netanyahu’s ‘bigotry’ in Pakistan, so that Pakistan becomes a fairer place for all its citizens, irrespective of their religious faith.Recommend

  • DudeFromDC

    So Netanyahu is a bigot because he is Jewish? So how about muslims who are taught to whole-heartedly hate Jews, Hindus, christians, Buddists, Sikhs and Jains?Recommend

  • Gullu

    Where is your comment on Dalits? Untouchables? Rape Capital India?
    Female infanticide? Women refusing to go to Bharat or travelling in Bharat?
    The indigenous genocide in Meghalaya? Arunachal Pradesh? Assam?
    Huh? None? You only raise your head and come out of the hole when you
    hear ‘Muslim’? That’s 1200 years of under the Muslim yoke speaking.Recommend

  • Gullu

    Wow! Look at that! Rama be praised! A hindu spouting statistics! Yet.
    30% this, 50% that, 37% whatever. Here are a few for you to chew on…
    68% of hindus have no access to a toilet. A Dalit woman is raped every 7 minutes in Hindustan, that’s give or take 54% of the women.. Illiteracy is
    near 70%. Farmers commit suicide by the bushel,..er..in droves, because
    of the money they owe to the bunyas. No chance of ever paying back. That’s
    1 in every 10 farmers. For the last 5000 years Hindustan has been been a conquered and occupied country. That’s 100% Hope you like those figures.
    By the way, doubt anyone gives a doozy about the Republicans figures or
    statements. It is NOT a progressive party. it is a party of white, near illiterate
    unskilled, high school dropouts. Not going anywhere. They lost the last two
    presidential elections. This will be the third one. And they do not like minorities. That includes hindus. Bindi or no bindi.
    Hope that helps, just a tad. A tiny ant size tad.Recommend

  • Brutus

    Great reply with statistics, now go awayRecommend

  • Stealthy

    If one goes by your logic, Muslims should have more rights in India than the people suffering from ‘Hindutva’ mindset. Afterall, people who defecate in public and have the concept of ‘Untouchables’ in their society shouldn’t be granted much rights as they would misuse it to suppress minorities. Netanyahu is termed a bigot not only by muslims but by many non muslims too. Most of the Europeans hold unfavorable view of him.
    Adding to your dismay, trump would never get elected because he’s rejected by the majority of Americans :)Recommend

  • shiva the destroyer

    ouch…did my post strike a cord?Recommend

  • Stealthy

    Did you mean ‘strike a chord’? :)Recommend

  • shiva the destroyer

    oops….typo…thanks heheRecommend

  • Faulitics

    Agree. Trump can’t thrive in America but a Trump equivalents in the “muslim world” are thriving and they are common place. Its the norm.Recommend