How debate on ‘Trump-Muslims’ chokes Palestine rights

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How debate on ‘Trump-Muslims’ chokes Palestine rights

Many Arabs and Muslims are angry over President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric vowing to halt Muslim immigration until immigration screening process can be improved.
Most are reacting with emotion rather than with reason or logic, and in the long run, the foes of Islam will actually benefit. They are certainly not looking at facts. The exaggerated “Muslim ban” debate has distracted the public from the core of American animosity against the Arab and the Muslim World, which is the need to protect Palestinians from Israeli violence.
Palestine is the heart of the Arab existence. If Americans can’t be fair to Palestine, they will never be fair to Arab Muslims or to the Arab people of the Middle East. But the presidential election has created a seismic shift from the very specific issue of Palestine to the broader issue of Muslim rights.
Many Muslims and Arabs have joined in protests against Trump, asserting that Trump is more anti-Arab and anti-Muslim than an administration that might have been led by former US Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost the election. They assert falsely that Democrats are more supportive of peace than Republicans. But that’s not what the facts suggest. Despite Trump’s alleged anti-Muslim views, he could probably be more supportive of Palestinian rights than Clinton or even outgoing President Barack Obama. Don’t rely on the anti-Trump propaganda from the biased mainstream American news media. Look at the facts.
That data is shocking. More Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank and in Occupied East Jerusalem were destroyed by Israel during the Obama administration than during the 42 years before Obama was elected. That’s according to data from several sources including B’Tselem, the righteous Jewish civil rights organization that has championed Palestinian rights and the rule of law. Nearly 49,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel since June 1967. More than half, a staggering 25,000, were demolished beginning in Oct. 2009, 10 months after Barack Obama, a Democrat, took office. The total number of Palestinian homes destroyed continues to increase as Obama prepares to leave office.
The number of Palestinians who have been killed during the Obama administration is only slightly less than the number of Palestinians killed during the administration of his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush.
Israel killed 5,031 Palestinians during the Bush administration, and killed 4,129 Palestinians during the Obama administration.
The population of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank, (not including the occupied Jerusalem which has about 190,000 illegal settlers), has skyrocketed under Obama, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. By December 2000, one month before Bush left office, there were 192,976 settlers living in the occupied West Bank. In 2015, during the first six years of the Obama administration, there were 388,285 settlers, an increase of 195,309. Palestinians are steadily being erased by Israel, and apparently those who are attacking Trump don’t care. They base their anger on reports from the mainstream American news media, which is historically anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian. The media is advocating against Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric because the majority of Muslims (about 78 percent) in America are non-Arab.
Why do Arabs and Muslims believe the news media regarding the treatment of Muslims, but ignore the facts of what Israel is doing to Palestinians?
Why would Arabs and Muslims support anti-Trump protesters when the protesters are being led by supporters of the Clintons, Obama and Democratic members of the US Congress who overwhelming have backed legislation to deny fundamental rights to Christian and Muslim Arabs?
With prodding from Israel’s lobby, Democrats allied with Obama and Clinton have pushed through the most draconian anti-Palestinian laws. In the past three years, with the help of some establishment Republicans who opposed Trump, 19 American states introduced or adopted legislation making it illegal to boycott Israel. Most of the states approving anti-BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) laws were states where candidate Clinton either won in her battle with Trump or came close to winning. Critics of Trump, including many leading pro-Israel activists and American government officials, have herded American Muslims and Arabs into an anti-Trump stampede. They have created a false cloud that has blocked out the truth of what is being done to Palestinians.
Maybe I see it more clearly because I am a Christian Palestinian. Ironically, many Americans believe I am Muslim, although I proudly consider myself to be “Muslim by culture.”
I recognize that the majority of Israel’s victims are Muslim Palestinians. Israel discriminates against both Christian and Muslim Palestinians, but non-Arab Muslims have been less willing to defend Palestinians than Arab Muslims. Non-Arab Muslims are leading the shift away from Palestinian rights in favor of a new priority, defending the rights of Muslims using Trump’s rhetoric to fuel that transition. There is no guarantee that President Trump will be or won’t be pro-Palestinian. But given the history, there is a far better chance for Palestinians to achieve justice with Trump than with Clinton’s political cabal that includes Obama and many of the politicians and activists who are leading the anti-Trump protests.
• Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist and writer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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