“A Defense of Israel and Some Comments on the Statements of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib,” by Andrew J. Schatkin

Let me say I have great respect for the above-named members of the House of Representatives and entertain the same respect for their Muslim faith. Both support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement whose object is to put political and economic pressure on Israel over its actions toward the Palestinians including calling for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

In 2012, Ms. Omar referred to the evil-doings of Israel, referring to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as all promoting human equality. I have no argument with these members of the House of Representatives stating their political views in this respect. I say to both of these persons holding political office in the United States that Israel has been under unremitting attacks for over 50 years from its Arab neighbors in which many deaths have resulted. I note that Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib fail to address these acts of consistent hostility from Israel’s neighbors for some time.

In addition, Ms. Omar and Tlaib fail to account for and address the constant terrorist attacks from certain elements of the Muslim community, albeit a minority These include most recently a proposed attack on a synagogue in Ohio and a proposed attack on the White House and the President. Most recently, there was a pointed anti-Christian attack on the Christmas Markets in Berlin and Strasbourg and a mas sexual attacks by North African men on German women in Cologne.

I respectfully request that these distinguished holders of office in our country face all the facts and truth and not select what they think violative and that alone. I do not need to inform these dispassionate thinkers that the Coptic Church has been under gross attack from Islamic fundamentalists in Egypt in which churches and church-members have been bombed and Coptic Christians killed. I need not remind Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar of the atrocities committed on Christian villages in Nigeria, again by fundamentalist Islamic groups.

When I state these facts, I bear no hostility or ill-will as a Christian to our Muslim brothers and sisters, but merely one might say seek to remind Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib that their positions taken on Israel are not being balanced and certainly the events I have just referred to and the facts and events I have noted are met with a deafening silence by both of them. When I make note of these events, past and ongoing, I know the vast majority of Muslims are peace- loving people seeking to work and support their families. But the reality is that there is a minority cultural, political, and religious movement in the Muslim world that goes about these acts of violence and I ask Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar to take an honest look at the factual realities which cannot be escaped and address this problem. Finally, I think Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar should take a close, if not closer, look at the blasphemy laws of Pakistan. A report by CNN said that there were over 50 cases in which blasphemy suspects were either murdered or died in jail In 2014, a lawyer named Mr. Rehman was shot dead in his office by two unidentified gunmen. Judges who have dared to acquit a blasphemer or convict the killer, it was reported, have had to flee the country or face death. Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar, whether rightly or wrongly, take the position they do on Israel and the Palestinians but I question their silence on what I talk and speak of here and I also question their intellectual honesty.