Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib panders to emotions but fails to achieve results
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib says she is a champion of human rights for Palestinians, but is she really effective or is she just pounding her chest and fueling the emotions of a community in America that is discriminated by racism, media bias and stereotyping? Tlaib introduced the “Nakba” Resolution but managed to only secure 6 co-sponsors of the 435 members of Congress. She needs 218 votes to pass a resolution demonstrating her utter failure as a leader to bring understanding and consensus to Americans on the issue of Palestine
By Ray Hanania
Arab and Muslim Americans tend to live in a fantasy of their own creation, especially when it comes to American politics.
And they don’t want to hear about it, nor do they want to do anything about it.
For example, that Arabs and Muslims are willing to accept the rhetoric of President Joe Biden, the leader of America, and the rhetoric of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the “leader” of the Arab American community. But they don’t care that the rhetoric is infertile and produces no actual results.
President Biden says all the right things when it comes to the majority of Arab Americans.
During his campaign, Biden promised to address their issues and to include them, ensuring that Arab and Muslim Americans would be a part of his administration.
He also vowed to reverse many of the policies that his predecessor former President Donald Trump imposed, such as banning Muslims from entering the United States.
Arab and Muslims cheered when Biden defeated Donald Trump, who started his administration hoping to work with Arabs but quickly was attacked and vilified by Arabs in Congress who put their partisan politics above the best interests of the community.
Arab and Muslim Americans quickly attacked Trump, exaggerating his efforts to stop extremists from the Middle East from entering this country. Arab critics called it a “Muslim ban,” but in fact it wasn’t a Muslim ban at all. It was a ban on six or seven predominantly Muslim countries that were in turmoil and whose security apparatus to process the backgrounds of emigrants was dysfunctional.
The term “Muslim Ban” also ignored the glaring reality that there are 50 predominantly Muslim countries in the world, and the vast majority of Muslims entering the United States were not banned at all.
But that reality often conflicted with the political goals of some of our Arab leaders, like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib who used profanity to pander to the emotions of the Arab American community.
Tlaib does a great job of wearing Arab ethnic clothing, speaks out against injustice — when it comes from people she hates like Donald Trump — or introducing legislation that doesn’t go anywhere except make big headlines in the feeble Arab American news media.
American Arabs should demand more from their leaders. It’s not enough to have people like Rashida Tlaib exploit the suffering of the Palestinians just to get empty and worthless headlines. Arab Americans need leaders who can change minds, build consensus and end the racism, bigotry and bias that exists against Arab and Muslims in America, not feed the stereotype by using vulgar phrases and confrontational selfishness
Instead of fighting for effective results, like convincing 218 members of Congress to support issues of justice, Tlaib and some of her supporters prefer to champion the losing battles like introducing the Nakba Resolution which had a total of six co-sponsors Congress person’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush.
The high sounding resolution that made Tlaib look like a hero in the Arab and Muslim community, will never get a hearing or get enough votes to make a real statement.
That’s our problem as Arabs. We tend to prefer emotion over achievement. Better to scream for justice, because it is easy, than to fight for justice, which is is difficult and requires more stratehic consensus building.
That’s why many Arab Americans and Muslims are hesitant to openly criticize President Biden, whose rhetoric and actions on Arab American and Muslim concerns is often in conflict.
It doesn’t help for Biden to appoint two dozen Arab and Muslims to his administration and only put them in secondary roles. Or, to restrict their public participation to avoid saying anything that might offend Israel.
In fact, while Biden promised to support their issues, apparently he wasn’t talking about the concerns about the Middle East. The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, the American Palestinian journalist shot dead by an Israeli sniper on May 10 in Jenin, is going the way of must injustices to Arabs, fading into the sunset unresolved and without ever seeing justice.
How is it not possible for Rashida Tlaib to not get 435 members of Congress to speak out when an American citizen is murdered in cold blood?
When it involves Israel’s military, which thrives on billions each year in American taxpayer funding, it is challenging.
But Abu Akleh was an American citizen. She was killed. And nothing! Her memory is fading out of the headlines into Arab and Muslim anger and emotion.
Biden and Tlaib may sound like great voices for Arab and Muslim concerns, but the truth is that they are not being held accountable for their actions.
As long as they say what we like to hear, why press them for more?
For example, why doesn’t the Arab and Muslim community, with leadership from Rashida Tlaib, force the 26 American states that have illegally adopted laws that undermine the fundamental Free Speech principles of the U.S. Constitution and passed “anti-BDS” laws.
The Anti-BDS laws basically say any American citizen who supports a boycott of Israel’s illegal and racist settler movement can be denied contracts and employment from the state, because of that opinion.
The foes contend the laws are “State’s Rights” issues and not Federal issues so they can’t do anything about them. But the reality is they don’t want to because it requires too much work.
Like I said, rhetoric doesn’t require much effort.
In reality, the anti-BDS laws adopted by 26 of the 50 American states are in fact a Federal issue because they violate the U.S. Constitution.
Tlaib and the “squad” can set aside their rhetoric, use politics and persuade 218 members of of the 435 members of Congress (50 percent plus 1) to vote to prohibit states from denying Americans their Constitutional Rights to free speech.
But like I said, that would mean Tlaib and even President Biden would have to step back from their policies of political polarization and instead find ways to win consensus.
It would mean Tlaib who have to stop calling people ugly names because “she” doesn’t like them or their views, and actually role up her Palestinian Tatreez and do the heavy lifting to achieve things.
It would also mean that President Biden should forget about how to suppress Trump and instead worry about how to enforce American rights, like demanding that the Israeli soldier who killed Shireen Abu Akleh is prosecuted or indicted in an American court.
Don’t hold your breath for any of that.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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