Bush press secretary and Liz Cheney tweet dangerous smears against Rep. Ilhan Omar

Questioning the inhumanity of Israel’s occupation consistently brings out the worst in Republicans. None of them see Palestinians as fully human. All of them follow Trump’s lead and paint anyone who advocates for Palestinian’s rights as a supporter of “terrorists”. 


In her tweet, Rep. Omar is clearly condemning and lamenting Hamas’ firing of unguided rockets into Israel. Rep. Omar does this in the same terms as she uses for Israeli troops firing on protesters, which is equally condemnable. This comparison is what Fleischer cannot stomach, they want to cover up and excuse civilian killings by the Israeli government.


Given the role her father played in starting a ruinous war under false pretenses, Cheney should be ashamed to ever speak about the Middle-East. But shame and regret for causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands simply isn’t the Republican way. 

These are dangerous smears by Rep. Cheney and Ari Fleischer. Rep. Ilhan Omar has already received numerous death threats. A man in Florida and another in New Yorkhave been arrested for making death threats towards her.

These smears are also false. Rep. Omar is asking the question that any thinking, feeling human being should ask. How much more must ordinary people suffer. This is a question that seems to drive Republicans like Ari Fleischer insane because they do not care a whit about Palestinian suffering. Republicans trot out “black on black crime”, “thugs” and myriad other racist tropes to blame racial inequity in the US on marginalized populations. They use similar, racist, othering tropes against Palestinians. 

Fleischer and the Republicans’ inability to recognize Palestinians’ humanity goes so far that he has even smeared Bernie Sanders (who is Jewish), merely because he stood up for the right of all people to protest. 


Fleischer has also attacked AOC, claiming she’s “anti-Israel”. The Israeli government has violated the rights of millions of Palestinians for decades. In March, a UN report found that Israeli troops had fired live ammunition at Palestinian protesters in Gaza repeatedly over the course of a year, maiming thousands and killing 189, including 32 children.

reported the deaths of 189 Palestinians, of whom 183 — including 32 children — were killed by live ammunition. The commission said snipers firing such ammunition also injured 6,106 Palestinians, inflicting many life-changing wounds. […]

After March 30, 2018, tens of thousands of Palestinians turned out along the fence on Fridays to demand an end to Israel’s draconian blockade of Gaza and the right to return to land that belonged to their ancestors in what is now Israel. Additional mass protests are expected to note the start of the first anniversary and beyond. — www.nytimes.com/…

Ari Fleischer hasn’t said a single word about the killing of hundreds of people in Gaza by Israeli troops. That’s because Palestinians aren’t seen as fully human by Republicans. Like other black, brown and indigenous people, their lives are seen as worth less, their rights as contingent on “good behavior”. 

As Israeli troops were killing dozens, his sole concern was that the NY Times ran a headline that read “Israelis Kill Dozens in Gaza”. Fleischer was upset that the NY Times hadn’t dehumanized all the protesters by calling them “terrorists”. Republicans and their far-right allies across the world know full well that the only way to justify the oppression of millions is to de-humanize them, and that is what Fleischer wants to do. He is upset at Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders and AOC precisely because they see Palestinians as fellow human beings. He would rather we see all Palestinians as beastly terrorists.

The far-right Likud government that has run Israel for most of the past 45 years was founded by terrorists who blew up markets and cafes. Both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir became prime ministers in Israel. Both of them ordered terrorist attacks on civilians. They and their fellow terrorists in Irgun and Lehi have had many public spaces named for them.

What Netanyahu did not say, was that entire Birthright trips could be built around the plaques and monuments which Israel has erected in recent years to honor the bombings and other terrorist killings committed by the members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi and Lehi pre-state underground groups – not to mention the highways, boulevards, schools, and town squares named for the armed bands’ respective commanders in chief – the late Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. […]

“The terror attack on the King David Hotel in Jerusalem was in its day the equivalent of the Twin Towers,” wrote historian Tom Segev in 2006, after Benjamin Netanyahu had taken center stage at a commemoration celebrating the 60th anniversary of the attack. Years later, Segev would call it, “at the time the most lethal terrorist attack in history.” 

The blast, which levelled six floors of a wing of the hotel with 350 kilograms of explosive, killed 91 people, all but 16 of them civilians. Most of the dead were British government staffers or hotel employees. There were 41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Jews, two Armenians, one Russian, one Greek and one Egyptian. — www.haaretz.com/…

Yes, that’s right the current Israeli Prime Minister attended a celebration of a terrorist attack that killed dozens of civilians.

You will never, ever hear Fleischer or other Republicans call Likud’s founders “terrorists”, even though they carried out numerous bomb attacks and massacres on civilians, especially Palestinians. You will never hear them call supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu, who now leads this organization “terrorist sympathizers”. You will not hear them refer to the Israeli army’s deliberate bombing of residential buildings which has killed hundreds of children as a war crime.

These terms are reserved for others who don’t look like them or don’t pray like them.

Trump is, in a real sense, the essence of Republican and right-wing politics, they all lie, misinform and advocate for violence. They all want impunity for criminality by those they identify with. They do not believe in equality, they want supremacy for themselves and the group they identify with.

He just does it more openly than most.

— @subirgrewal

Right-Wing propaganda to de-humanize Palestinians kicks into gear, aided by Steny Hoyer.

First, a contextual reminder from a Palestinian voice.

Israeli bombs landed on Gaza again this week, after Israeli snipers had shot dozens of Palestinians at protests of the Gaza fence and blockade. The Israeli army’s shooting and killing of protesters has been going on in Gaza for months. Even liberal outlets among the US news media tend to forget about that, and rarely report on the killing on Palestinians. Coverage begins when there are Israeli casualties, or a perceived threat to Israel. This is the only thing considered newsworthy.

For example, the NY Times coverage over the weekend. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is a Palestinian-American commented on the story.

Gaza’s entire population of 1.8 million people has been locked into the tiny territory for over a decade. This is as a result of Israeli policy. People protesting this at the militarized fence are shot at by Israeli snipers every day. All this has been normalized and is accepted as just the way things will be.

Rep. Ilhan Omar spoke up on behalf of beleaguered Palestinians. That was the cue for George W. Bush’s former press-secretary took the opportunity to call her a “terrorist supporter” for speaking up, while spreading a right-wing talking point claiming “Gaza is not occupied”.

Many have tried to pass off the Trump administration’s attacks on Rep. Tlaib and Omar as aberrations. They aren’t. Much of the Republican apparatus is in on it, including major players in prior Republican administrations. Of course, the Trump administration spices it up with falsehoods, but they’re substantively no different from the Bush wing.

Sadly, some Democrats are more than willing to aid and abet these Republican talking-points. They’re following a script where they maintain disciplined silence when Israeli forces attack and kill Palestinians. The moment there’s a Palestinian attack on Israelis, they jump into action, shouting in outrage.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is a classic example of this dynamic.

Notice how Steny Hoyer “stands strongly” for Israel’s right to defend itself? Not a word about the rights of Palestinians, to either live freely, or defend themselves. Hoyer never concerns himself with Palestinian’s rights, simply erasing them from consideration.

The Democratic caucus would do well to dump Steny Hoyer as Majority Leader and promote Barbara Lee into his position.

Even apart from Steny Hoyer, there are several other Democrats who spread misinformation and pro-Israel talking points.

Dan Shapiro surely knows that the Israeli army targets residential buildings. He was US ambassador to Israel during the Gaza conflict in 2014. The Israeli army targeted scores of homes, killing hundreds of civilians. This was a deliberate policy, has been loudly touted by Israel’s military and political leadership. Human rights groups have documented the fact that these Israeli bombings killed hundreds of Palestinian children

Former ambassador Dan Shapiro surely knows all this. Why is he spreading misinformation?

Not only does the Israeli government have such a policy, they very publicly revel in it. Here’s the IDF’s official account boasting about destroying a residential building in Gaza. They claim it was the origin of a Hamas “cyber offensive”. Someone tried to hack into some Israeli computer, they believe it was someone in this building, so they bombed and destroyed the entire six story residential building.

Imagine you or your family lived in such a building and they were killed because a next-door neighbor was trying to hack something. Or, imagine how outraged the Israeli government would be if Palestinian forces bombed an Israeli university. Many of them have Israeli cyber-warfare units, including ones that engage in pervasive surveillance of Palestinians. You’d be barely able to hear yourself over the sound of American politicians rushing to condemn it as a terrorist strike. But when the IDF proudly touts its bombing of an apartment building with this pretext, all you hear are crickets. 

Worst of all the right-wing propaganda is the dehumanizing, victim-blaming cartoons that surface.

Would that this were purely a matter of cartoons.

It is no laughing matter. The death toll from this weekend’s fighting alone is 26 people, 23 of them were Palestinian (including a Bedouin worker at an Israeli factory).

Among those killed was 14 month old Seba Abu Arar. This is reportedly a video of her from earlier this year:

One-year-old Seba was killed along with her aunt in an Israeli air attack at their house in Gaza on Saturday.

With her wounded hand, Seba’s mother, 27-year-old Rasha Abu Arar, wiped her tears, ruing the incident that took place following the escalation of violation that has killed at least 24 Palestinians and four Israelis.

“Me, my cousins and their children were sitting in the house when suddenly a rocket fell on us,” a pregnant Rasha told Al Jazeera.

“I wrapped my arms around my daughter to protect her but the shrapnel injured my hand and penetrated her body,” she said as she continued sobbing.

“My three-year-old daughter, Rafeef, was also wounded and is currently in the ICU,” added the mother of six.

“What is the sin of my children? Did they throw rockets at Israel?” — www.aljazeera.com/…

Steny Hoyer, Dan Shapiro and every other Democrat who wants to say something at this time should keep Seba and her family in mind when they do. If they cannot see these children and every Palestinian as fully human, they should keep their mouths shut. 

— @subirgrewal