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’50-year-old Palestinians… have never lived in freedom their whole lives,’ Rivera says on Fox, defending Tlaib

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Israel’s denial of entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar has continued to raise consciousness in the United States. Yesterday Fox News invited regular contributor Geraldo Rivera on to discuss the trip to Palestine that didn’t happen, and Rivera became impassioned, slamming the Israeli ambassador Danny Danon for not acknowledging the occupation and saying that if the situation didn’t involve Israel and Jews, “we would all be outraged.”

It is absolutely outrageous that two sitting members of the Congress of the United States of America, a country that gives Israel over $3 billion a year in aid, were denied entry into the country. I am shocked that the ambassador did not mention 52 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. These are people who are being denied their human rights. They can’t freely travel. The fact that the congresswoman from Detroit could not go and visit her grandmother– I just think that if it were not Israel and it was not the Jews, if it was any other country that took this action, we would all be outraged.

(Danon was given a chance to respond and said the congresswomen had “wanted to create a provocation.” And maybe you should keep your provocation in the United States, not bring it to us, he went on. Also, Israel doesn’t have a viable partner to negotiate with. “American people know that… We are a peaceful nation but we live in a very tough neighborhood.”)

Then author Andy McCarthy got a moment to say, Rashida Tlaib was planning a stunt trip, and Rivera blew up.

Why is it a stunt– a woman wants to see her grandmother in an occupied country? It’s a stunt! There are 50-year old Palestinians that have never lived in freedom their whole lives… I have friends on the West Bank, I see that they cannot travel freely. They can’t even bring their relatives in when they get married. This is an occupied country

To be sure, Rivera called himself “a Jewish American and a fervent Zionist,” said he was comforted by Trump’s support for Israel, and showed off his Star of David tattoo. It may be that you can only criticize Israel in the mainstream after you aver your love for the country. But Rivera pushed the mainstream envelope. You’d hope that other broadcast figures who know the story, like Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper, will be as forthright as Rivera.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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37 Responses

  1. Brewer on August 20, 2019, 3:54 pm

    “They want a one state solution. They want a solution that destroys Israel.”

    There is one (and only one) logical conclusion that can be drawn from this statement.
    If Israel will be destroyed by becoming a state for all of the people who live there regardless of race or religion, it is not a state in any contemporary sense of the term.

    • Misterioso on August 21, 2019, 8:57 am

      “Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry” The Hill, August 15/19

      “A leading progressive lawmaker is eyeing funding cuts to Israel to protest the country’s stunning decision to bar entrance to Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).

      “Citing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘disrespect’ for the U.S. Congress, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said the move to block Omar and Tlaib from their scheduled visit on Sunday is ‘outrageous’ and deserves a congressional response — including the possibility of cutting foreign aid.

      “‘No more members of Congress, no delegations, should be going to Israel unless this decision is reversed. And I think we’re going to have to have some serious conversations even about financial support,’ Pocan, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Thursday by phone.

      “‘You can’t have a respectful relationship, and give the amount of billions of dollars that we give to a country like Israel, but at the same time have them denying members of Congress — I don’t care where their political persuasion comes from — access into the country,’ he added. ‘I mean, at that point, this highly political move by Netanyahu could have a very serious impact, and could [lead to] far more scrutiny on what we’re doing financially.’

      “Omar and Tlaib last year became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Both lawmakers have made past comments critical of Israel.

      “Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the country would not ‘allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter,’ The Times of Israel reported, citing a broadcast interview.

      “Several congressional delegations have visited Israel this month, amid the August recess, with lawmakers from both parties offering glowing assessments of the strong relations between the United States and its democratic ally in the Middle East.

      “But Netanyahu’s decision Thursday to bar entrance to Tlaib, of Palestinian descent, and Omar, a native of Somalia, immediately strained the alliance, particularly in the eyes of Democrats, who quickly rushed to the defense of their colleagues while warning that politicizing such visits could erode the decades-long tradition of bipartisan support Israel has enjoyed from Congress.

      “‘If Israel’s government hopes to win the support of American lawmakers across the political spectrum, then this visit could have been an opportunity to share views and make a case for why American support for Israel is so important,’ said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a strong Israel supporter.

      “‘Instead, refusing entry to members of Congress looks like Israel is closing itself off to criticism and dialogue,’ he added.

      “The notion of cutting U.S. aid for Israel is unlikely to gain traction in a Congress where both parties have a long track record of supporting that funding, citing the need to protect Israel militarily and cement shared strategic goals in a hostile region of the world. But Pocan’s suggestion signals that such proposals could surface when Congress returns to Washington next month facing the task of funding the government before an Oct. 1 shutdown deadline.

      “‘We really do have to have bigger conversations about if any country would show that much disrespect to U.S. lawmakers after having the relationship we do, [it] would certainly have all sorts of possible ramifications,’ he said.

      “Supporters of cutting Israel aid would have a big target to hit. For the current fiscal year, Congress allotted $3.3 billion to Israel, almost all of it in the form of military aid, and another $500 million for missile defense systems, according to a report published this month by the Congressional Research Service. President Trump’s
      requested budget for fiscal 2020 proposed keeping those numbers intact.

      “The partisan nature of the debate was fueled Thursday by Trump, a long time critic of Tlaib and Omar for their positions on Israel, who appeared to nudge Netanyahu into applying the travel ban on the two freshman lawmakers.

      “‘It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit,’ Trump tweeted Thursday morning. ‘They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!’

      “Netanyahu’s decision, announced shortly after Trump’s tweet, stunned Democratic leaders who have been in close contact with Israeli officials and thought the trip was already approved. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., said last month that ‘we would not deny entry to any member of Congress’ based on Israel’s ‘respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.’

      “House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who recently led a lawmaker visit to Israel, said he spoke directly with Netanyahu and Dermer on Wednesday seeking to secure passage for Tlaib and Omar. He appeared stunned that Dermer’s previous assurances were not kept.

      “‘I call on the Prime Minster to reconsider this decision and ensure that all Members of Congress who wish to visit Israel and/or the West Bank will be received with the proper respect and recognition they are due,’ Hoyer said.”

      • Misterioso on August 21, 2019, 10:02 am


        “CNN Panelists’ Fiery Exchange Over Omar, Tlaib, Miftah & Israel” – August 20/19

        “Watch the heated debated between two CNN panelists Rich Lowry a Conservative and Peter Beinart, a liberal, over Israel, the group Miftah and antisemitism.”

    • Misterioso on August 21, 2019, 10:08 am


      “MSNBC interviews Israeli activist who says ‘Israel’s occupation over [Palestinian] civilians has to end.'” August 16/19

    • Elizabeth Block on August 21, 2019, 10:25 am

      It’s a state. What it is NOT is a democracy.

      • Sibiriak on August 21, 2019, 12:09 pm

        It has elections, so it is a democracy. Like the U.S., or Ukraine, or India.

      • eljay on August 21, 2019, 12:42 pm

        || Sibiriak: It has elections, so it is a democracy. Like the U.S., or Ukraine, or India. ||

        AFAIK, Israel doesn’t allow…
        – its non-Jewish refugees;
        – all Israeli non-residents; and
        – all non-Israelis under its military occupation (a.k.a. non-citizens),
        …to vote in its national elections and to elect Israeli leadership.

        It therefore fails mon donut‘s “true test of a democracy”.

      • amigo on August 21, 2019, 3:07 pm

        “It has elections, so it is a democracy. ” Sibiriak

        Not necessarily so.

      • Sibiriak on August 21, 2019, 3:08 pm

        Well, look at Latvia and Estonia, the exemplary democracies repeatedly lauded by the preeminent U.S. funded democracy-promoting NGO, Freedom House:

        Freedom House has consistently rated Estonia and Latvia as “free,” giving them—on par with the United States and other advanced democracies—the highest possible evaluations for their proportional representation and civil liberties. For instance, some human rights organizations expressed concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russians, many of whom are denied voting rights and remain under the highly dubious status of Estonia and Latvia’s “stateless” or“non-citizens.” (Andrei Tsygankov)

      • Sibiriak on August 21, 2019, 3:44 pm

        Freedom House gives Israel an “Aggregate Freedom Score” of 78 out of 100 :

        Israel is a multiparty democracy with strong and independent institutions that guarantee political rights and civil liberties for most of the population. Although the judiciary is active in protecting minority rights, the political leadership and many in society have discriminated against Arab and other minorities, resulting in systemic disparities in areas including political representation, criminal justice, and economic opportunity.

        [Disclosure: “One of NED’s subsidiaries, Freedom House, is admittedly funded by multinational corporations including AT&T, defense contractors BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, industrial equipment exporter Caterpillar, tech-giants Google and Facebook, and financiers including Goldman Sachs. NED itself – according to a 2013 disclosure – is funded by among others, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Google, Micrsoft, and the US Chamber of Commerce. What do these corporations have to do with ‘the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world’?” [3] ]

      • Keith on August 21, 2019, 7:25 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “It has elections, so it is a democracy. Like the U.S., or Ukraine, or India.”

        It is a CAPITALIST democracy where elections, far from empowering the citizenry, are a form of corporate marketing whereby the citizenry is seduced by the illusion of empowerment thereby contributing to corporate control of the political economy. There is very little correlation between citizen needs and desires and governmental actions. Yet, “democracy” has a certain emotional appeal divorced from empirical reality.

      • oldgeezer on August 21, 2019, 10:45 pm


        Communist countries have/had elections. And all citizens are born with a right to be a party member and thusly vote. No one would suggest communist countries are democracies. Nor is any other country merely because it allows a vote.

        The major donor to freedom house is the US government. Hardly a credible source. I don’t think they’re totally out to lunch but the entire operation is suspect due to that.

      • echinococcus on August 21, 2019, 11:44 pm

        Telling Sibiriak?
        You guys don’t even need bait on the hook, do you?

      • Talkback on August 22, 2019, 6:08 am

        @ Siberiak

        South Africa under Apartheid had elections, too, and wasn’t a democracy. Why? Because not every South African was allowed to vote. So what makes you think that Israel is a democracy? It is even less a democracy than SA under Apartheid was, because it not only prevents millions of Nonjews to vote, but also keeps them expelled and denationalized. And it is quite puzzling that all these democracy ranking institutes ignore this fundamental fact. Israel is even more an Apartheid state than South Africa has ever been.

      • echinococcus on August 22, 2019, 8:38 am


        “it is quite puzzling that all these democracy ranking institutes ignore this fundamental fact”

        Because all these institutes dishonestly avoid defining “democracy”.
        Ancient Athens, which gave us the word “democracy” and is the mother democracy where the thing is supposed to have started, was a slaveholding regime where only those with local ancestry from both sides were “citizens” and the very numerous non-citizens had limited rights.

        So the only question is “democracy for whom, exactly?”

        Limitedly to invader pirates who do not even have the right to be in Palestine, the illegitimate Zionist crusader kingdom is a democracy, of course: democracy for the interlopers, slavery for the owners of the country.

        As we in the States have been, until quite recently. We still have an iron dictatorship camouflaged as a Punch and Judy show. That’s a “democracy”, too. So perhaps ignoring generic labels and looking at the actions, because we know that democracies do commit the worst crimes, is a better attitude.

      • Keith on August 22, 2019, 11:12 am

        ECHINOCOCCUS- “Telling Sibiriak?”

        Not really. Sibiriak is engaging in sarcasm to make a point which apparently a lot of people didn’t get. I am using his comment to make the obvious point that what we in the West call “democracy” is, in effect, corporate rule. In capitalism, money rules and elections are, in reality, simply another avenue for fat-cat control. In fact, one could debate the extent to which real democracy is even possible, particularly in our society of vastly unequal distribution of money power. Actually, Assad did win a recent election by a wide margin proving, I suppose, that he is much more popular than ISIS. In 1996, the vastly unpopular Yeltsin won the Russian election proving that money, US public relations and huge vote fraud can overwhelm a population of followers, which most populations are. Of course Uncle Sam wants to spread democracy. Capitalist democracy where one dollar equals one vote, neoliberalism runs amok and elections legitimize the whole process.

      • echinococcus on August 22, 2019, 5:49 pm


        You were excepted — I assumed that would be obvious.

    • genesto on August 21, 2019, 8:11 pm

      It’s also one who’s ‘existence’ doesn’t deserve to be recognized!

  2. amigo on August 20, 2019, 4:03 pm

    Al Jazeera interviewed Ariel Gold (code Pink ), Gideon Levy and the deputy Mayor of Occupied Jerusalem, Fleur -Hassan -Nahoum.

    Sorry , I cannot get the link as I am having connectivity problems , however it is a good interview and the zionist apologist has her head handed to her on a plate which causes her to do the usual; zionist apologist antics –repeating the same old tropes , in an ever increasing volume , IE, No Palestinian peace Partners, Palestinian blood libels re Jews and Chamas Terror Tunnels , bla bla bla.

    This was all to discredit Tlaib by suggesting she was going to visit terroreeeests and murderers.Ie , MIFTAH who is headed up by Hanan Ashrawi.

    I wasn,t aware that Hanan Ashrawi was a terrorist.

    • JLewisDickerson on August 20, 2019, 5:09 pm

      Does Trump and Netanyahu’s special relationship serve or harm the US?
      Inside Story | 3 hours ago | 25:20
      The decision to bar two Congresswomen from entering Israel has sent shockwaves through both countries. The denial of entry to Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar has been condemned by top U.S. democrat politicians. It’s also been criticised by a pro-Israel lobbying group. Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories this weekend. President Donald Trump had called for the two lawmakers to be blocked, ahead of Israel banning them. The U.S. president has in recent months taken decisions that many say have given Netanyahu much political support. But what does that mean for the long-term ties between the U.S. and Israel? Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom Guests Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and a member of the Likud party. Ariel Gold, National co-director of activist group Code Pink. Gideon Levy, Columnist at Haaretz newspaper.

      • Elisabeth on August 24, 2019, 5:20 am

        The Likud woman is best watched with the sound off. The snarl of the upper lip, the stiff necked swaying of the upper body, the staring eyes. They are a perfect picture of aggression best enjoyed without distracting noise about ‘wanting peace’.

    • JWalters on August 20, 2019, 5:54 pm

      Hanan Ashrawi has more integrity in her little finger than the whole Israeli government.

      • Misterioso on August 21, 2019, 8:43 am


        “Hanan Ashrawi has more integrity in her little finger than the whole Israeli government.”

        Agreed! I hold her in the highest regard.

      • Sibiriak on August 21, 2019, 12:36 pm

        Norman Finkelstein:

        The Palestinian leadership has only ever cared about squirreling away money in their private bank accounts and paying the P.A.’s employees. It’s always been a corrupt patronage system. (The likes of pathetic Saeb Erekat also enjoy the pretenses and pageantry of power.)

        There was a very calculated policy by the US over the past couple of years to bankrupt the PA in order to soften it for the “Deal of the Century”. The Palestinian Authority is now broke, and desperate.

        Abbas is just bargaining as he says “No, No, No”; he wants to see how much money he can wring out of Washington and Riyadh.

        PLO hack Hanan Ashrawi says that the Palestinians can’t be bought for a “fistful of dollars.” True enough; they demand two fistfuls.

      • JWalters on August 21, 2019, 8:16 pm

        Sibiriak, I looked at that article, and it seems to me Finkelstein’s comment on Ashrawi is an unsubstantiated, throwaway line. She is an articulate spokesperson for Palestinian rights, but it seems without much actual power. Finkelstein can sometimes get caught up in his anger.

      • echinococcus on August 21, 2019, 11:56 pm

        “unsubstantiated… caught up in his anger” my foot.

        Ms Ashrawi is certainly very, very smart, highly civilized, a moral paragon and possibly the best human on earth (and I must add that, personally speaking, she had me under her charm the only time I had the honor of meeting her) but she is still officially part of the puppet administration installed by the USrael empire to police the Palestinians on behalf of the occupier to enforce the military occupation rule, period.

        That is an excellent reason for anger.

    • RoHa on August 21, 2019, 1:24 am

      “I wasn,t aware that Hanan Ashrawi was a terrorist.”

      Of course she is. It’s simple logic.

      1. All Palestinians are wild-eyed, swarthy, unshaven, fanatical, Jew-hating, terrorists.
      2. Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian.
      3. Therefore, Hanan Ashrawi is a wild-eyed, swarthy, unshaven, fanatical, Jew-hating, terrorist.

      Can’t fault that reasoning, can you?

      • echinococcus on August 21, 2019, 8:54 am


        Ironclad logic. You’re absolutely correct.
        I’ll only observe that your universal premise, “All Palestinians are” etc. is canceled by an equally strong tenet of the same faith, viz the universal negative “There are no ‘Palestinians’ “. We’re kind of in a bind here.

      • RoHa on August 22, 2019, 1:11 am

        Mere inexistence is not sufficient to stop them from being wild-eyed, swarthy, unshaven, fanatical, Jew-hating, terrorists who are a greater existential threat than Heidegger.

        That is why we must kill them all, or, at least, drive them out into some distant desert where they won’t bother us.

      • RoHa on August 22, 2019, 1:59 am

        Though in the nicest possible way, of course.

    • genesto on August 21, 2019, 8:13 pm

      Anyone who stands up to Israel and its occupation is, ipso facto, a ‘terrorist’ in Zioland!

    • Yani on August 22, 2019, 6:04 am

      “I wasn’t aware that Hanan Ashrawi was a terrorist.”

      She is a Palestinian, they are all terrorists. DRRR

      Don’t you know your hasbara 101?

      • amigo on August 22, 2019, 2:37 pm

        Hasbara 101 .

        Duh.what is that.

    • Talkback on August 23, 2019, 7:29 am

      amigo: “I wasn,t aware that Hanan Ashrawi was a terrorist.”

      “terrorist” or “antisemite” (and its countless variations) are known obscenities verbally epressed by those who suffer from Coprolalia Zionica.

  3. amigo on August 20, 2019, 5:39 pm

    JLD Thanks for putting up the Link.

  4. JWalters on August 20, 2019, 6:01 pm

    “You’d hope that other broadcast figures who know the story, like Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper, will be as forthright as Rivera.”

    Maybe this is a way to distinguish reporters who are merely well-paid by the Zionists from those who have also been blackmailed?
    “Whitney Webb in-depth history of Jeffrey Epstein”

  5. Marnie on August 21, 2019, 1:40 pm

    “But Rivera pushed the mainstream envelope. You’d hope that other broadcast figures who know the story, like Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper, will be as forthright as Rivera.”

    Wow, is Fox considered mainstream now? I thought it was right down there with Breitbart and Alex Jones. Considering how shook up Tapper looked when he was attempting a gotcha ‘interview’ with Rashida Tlaib, it might be a while before MSNBC and CNN come up to Fox News? You know things have gone completely to shit when Fox News is showing the moral authority (It’s quite a stretch).

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