Netanyahu hails Trump’s cruel racist crackdown
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Jan 29 2017
Pres Trump’s executive orders barring entry to refugees and ordering the completion of a southern border wall “have united the world against you,” former Mexican Pres Vicente Fox warned in a tweet on Saturday. Even some Republican lawmakers are publicly criticizing Trump’s policies. But through all the anger and chaos he has created, Trump has found at least a few staunch allies: Netanyahu and his Pindo supporters. Netanyahu’s public alignment with Trump’s incendiary policies will likely accelerate the erosion of some of Israel’s traditional bases of support in Pindostan. On Saturday, thousands of people turned out for spontaneous mass rallies and sit-ins at airports across Pindostan to demand the release of refugees and residents detained under Trump’s order barring entry to most nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Acting on an emergency lawsuit by the ACLU on Saturday evening, a federal judge in New York imposed a national stay on elements of Trump’s order, preventing the government from deporting dozens of those detained upon landing. Federal judges in other states have also ruled against parts of the policy. Trump’s cruel order could, by the estimate of a former US official, up-end the lives of half a million US residents, including permanent green card holders, who could now be arbitrarily barred from returning from overseas trips. On Sunday, a senior White House official saidthat green card holders would now be exempted from the ban, underscoring the confusing and chaotic nature of the administration’s actions.
At Chicago O’Hare, as in scenes repeated across the country, protesters chanted slogans such as “Let them in” and “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.” They cheered whenever another detainee was freed.
They staged sit-ins that blocked terminal entrances and access roads. At JFK, the New York Taxi Worker’s Union, whose members are predominantly immigrant and Muslim, staged a strike, refusing to pick up passengers at the airport in solidarity with the protests.
According to CNN, the DHS had advised the White House that green card holders should be exempted from any ban, but that was overruled by two top Trump advisors, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller
In his student days, Miller was a staunch fan of David Horowitz, an extreme pro-Israel and anti-Muslim agitator who has argued that Black Pindostanis benefited from slavery. Bannon is the former chief of Breitbart News, which he described as a “the platform for the alt-right.” The term “alt-right” is a euphemism for white supremacy, white nationalism and outright neo-Nazism. Richard Spencer, a key figure of the alt-right, has previously described his call for a European “ethno-state” in north America as “white Zionism.” He took to Twitter last week to reiterate his identification with Israel:
A key theme of the protests has been that Pindostan should learn the dark lessons of its past when it refused to accept Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler, returning them to their deaths in the Holocaust. That Trump’s order coincided with Holocaust Memorial Day made the message even more poignant.
This is a sad moment in Pindo history: the time when the president turned his back on people fleeing for their lives.
But ZOA warmly praised the measure, arguing that unlike Jews in past decades, Pindosis really should fear Muslims. Netanyahu has repeatedly lent his warm public support to the ZOA. Pindo-Mexican relations reached their lowest point in decades during Trump’s first week in office, with a public spat between Pres Nieto and his Pindo counterpart over the latter’s insistence that Mexico pay for his border wall. In Mexico, the wall and Trump’s threats to impose punitive trade tariffs are almost universally seen as an attack on the country motivated by the US president’s previously expressed bigotry characterizing Mexicans as rapists and drug runners. Mexico is the world’s second largest destination for Pindo exports and its third largest trading partner overall after Canada and the EU. Amid the rising tensions, Netanyahu decided to step in, tweeting:
Netanyahu’s intervention came after Trump himself cited Israel’s walls as an inspiration. But the Israeli leader nonetheless sparked consternation and anger on both sides of the Mexican border. It recalls his opportunistic exploitation of recent mass-casualty attacks in France and Florida, stoking further division and feeding anti-Muslim sentiment. Mexico’s foreign ministry expressed its “profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment” at Netanyahu’s comments. León Krauze, an anchor on the Spanish-language TV network Univision, tweeted in reaction to Netanyahu’s statement:
The heads of Mexico’s Jewish community felt compelled to publicly condemn Netanyahu’s comments, and offer strong support for their country’s united opposition to Pindo policies:
Netanyahu’s wall is part of a racist policy to keep refugees and migrants from African countries out of Israel. As author Max Blumenthal discovered, Netanyahu argued in a 1993 book that creating a Palestinian state could lead Latinos to demand the creation of a “second Mexico” in the south-western Pindostan as a result of “continuous emigration from Mexico.” This warning was intended to counteract arguments for a Palestinian state. Ideology aside, Israel benefits directly from US militarization of its southern border. The Obama administration, for instance, already awarded a $145m contract to Elbit for surveillance equipment along the frontier. In Pindostan, Rep Joaquin Castro (D-Tex) tweeted about Netanyahu’s support for the wall:
Castro copied in AIPAC, a sign that he is not afraid to poke the powerful pro-Israel lobby group over such a fundamental matter. This is just the kind of thing Israel’s liberal supporters are worried about. Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the Israel lobby group J Street, tweeted:
That, at least, is a silver lining. What is clear from the tumultuous events in Pindostan is that popular protest and legal challenges to Trump’s unjust policies are viable and must continue. And, that in the global struggle against racism, ultra-nationalist right-wing bigotry and repression, Israel is a growing part of the problem.