We know that President Donald Trump has banned citizens of seven countries from entering the United States; the majority of those affected are Muslims. He also supported the far-right in the Charlottesville clashes because that is his end of the political spectrum. What’s more, he has allied himself with arch-terrorist Benjamin Netanyahu, with his election campaign receiving donations from pro-Israel US billionaires.
Such a rightward shift is reflected in the credible data collected by the Arab-American Institute proving that Arab Americans are being threatened and subject to hate crimes. The US Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act in 1990 and the FBI began collecting information about what Arabs and others were being subjected to. However, in 1992, the federal government in Washington ordered the FBI not to collect data relating specifically to Arab Americans, although state security officials continued to do so. In 2003, the FBI ordered them to stop, but the situation changed again in 2015 and the collection of data resumed, all of which demonstrates the persecution of Arabs in America.
According to James Zogby — an American scholar of Arab descent whose work and honesty I respect — the hate crimes are politically motivated, and most of them are committed by racists who consider Arabs responsible for violence in the United States and the Middle East. Violence and the threat of violence against Arab Americans is part of a larger picture of discrimination, harassment and intimidation. There have been many incidents of discrimination against Arab Americans and the blacklisting of community activists in order to persecute them. Zogby and his fellow Arab-Americans have been targeted, and I hope that he will write a book one day about their mistreatment.
Many US presidents have attended events organised by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); the organisation funds many members of the US House of Representatives and Senate who are expected to support Israel against the Palestinians, the indigenous owners of the land in occupied Palestine. There are, though, many just people in the American Jewish community as well as Jews in Israel calling for peace. They support the Palestinians who remained in what is now Israel, or in the territories occupied in 1967. They should not be overlooked in order to focus on the terrorist Netanyahu and his ilk in the Israeli government.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are being killed by Israel on an almost daily basis. Thousands more have been killed and wounded in Israel’s military offensives against the civilians in the coastal enclave.
As well as its own ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, Israel can rely on the backing of US ambassador Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, whose parents migrated to the US from India via Canada. Her role at the UN is, to all intents and purposes, to defend Israel and cover up its crimes. In doing so, she is demonstrating that Trump has basically given Israel a licence to kill Palestinians.
The Trump administration has also withdrawn the US from the UN Human Rights Council because of the Council’s alleged “bias” against Israel; in reality, it has done nothing more than condemn Israel’s crimes. This condemnation came from the majority of UN members and not simply from an Arab country or one or two members of the Council.
What will happen tomorrow or the day after? There will almost certainly be more Israeli crimes, and more occasions where the US feels compelled to defend them.
As I write this, a new freedom flotilla has set sail from Europe carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip. Although most attempts to break the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza have been intercepted by Israel, some have got through. I hope that this effort is successful.
Of course, terrorists in Israeli navy and commando uniforms await the flotilla on the horizon, but those who are truly right will be victorious in the end. Netanyahu may have that deadly licence to act with impunity safe in the knowledge that Trump and his cronies will back him, but they face defeat in the long run, because injustice cannot last forever.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Hayat on 24 July 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.