JERUSALEM, Israel – Palestinian activist and political analyst Bassem Eid has spent years discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and fighting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
For decades, Eid lived in a Palestinian refugee camp near Jerusalem and eventually gained popularity among pro-Israel activists for calling out alleged human rights abuses committed by Palestinian leaders. While he also occasionally criticizes Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, he vehemently disagrees with claims made by anti-Israel activists that Israel is an apartheid state.
Now, he’s ready to take to task some of the most vocal critics of Israel in the US Congress. Eid has challenged Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar and other members of “The Squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – to meet with him and allow him to share his take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Most of his criticism is directed at Omar, who has faced the most backlash among Squad members for her comments about Israel and support for BDS.
In 2012, the Somali-born congresswoman tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
In 2019, she appeared on a news program and accused Israel of not being a real democracy because it is a Jewish State. She also wrote that US support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby” and implied that Jewish organizations like AIPAC have bribed American lawmakers.
Most recently, she faced backlash from Democrats and Republicans after she appeared to equate “atrocities” committed by the US and Israel to those committed by the Taliban and Hamas. Omar later said she never made “a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.”
Eid wrote in a recent opinion piece that Omar “does not know what she is talking about. Worse, for years, Rep. Omar has been engaged in not arguing any facts, but simply throwing out dirty anti-Semitic epithets, a mirror image of the anti-Semitism by ‘white supremacists’ she claims to decry.”
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He also challenged Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez over their statements claiming Israel is an apartheid state.
“Politicians like Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spend a considerable amount of time attacking Israel for the supposed harm it inflicts on Palestinians,” he said. “If they truly care about the wellbeing of Palestinians, they ought to focus their attention elsewhere. These days, the vast majority of suffering Palestinians experience is the direct result of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the influence of the terrorist group Hamas…Calling for boycotts, sanctions, and the destruction of Israel does not create real positive change for Palestinians.”
Eid praised Palestinian politicians who are choosing to work with Israel instead of isolating the country through BDS. Most notably, Mansour Abbas, the leader of the first Arab party to officially serve in an Israeli government.
“He has said he will work to negotiate large increases in government spending and improve social services in Arab communities…This is how you improve the lives of the Palestinian people – not through violence, corruption, and terrorism,” said Eid.
“In this same spirit of willingness to come together, I invite Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to meet with me, a Palestinian living in the West Bank, to discuss the problems of the Palestinians and the best solutions to address them. These congresswomen say they are willing to listen and learn, Well, if they really are, here’s their chance.”