In their private communications rooms in Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu stand before movie screens and gaze at each other before breaking into smiles.
“Great to see you, Mr. President. I just wish I could shake your hand.”
“We’ll soon be shaking hands again, Bibi, but right now I have a serious matter to discuss,” says Trump, suddenly stern.
Netanyahu summons a grim expression. “Go ahead, please.”
“I’m very unhappy that Israel might give Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib permission to visit your great democracy.”
“We’re such special historical allies, Mr. President, that we usually grant elected officials the opportunity to visit and learn about each other’s countries.”
Standing heavily in his suit, Trump says, “These Muslims aren’t coming Israel to learn. They think they already know everything. Why haven’t they scheduled any meetings with Israeli officials? Because they plan to spend all their time with Palestinians, planning ways to boycott and hurt Israel.”
“I’m very much aware they aren’t friends of Israel, but I don’t consider a couple of freshmen congresswomen to be a significant threat.”
“They’ll be as big a threat as they can be and that means they shouldn’t be allowed in your country.”
Netanyahu pauses several seconds. “I have to consider the political damage throughout the Middle East if I bar them from coming.”
“More importantly, Bibi, you have to consider the political damage I’d suffer if they start agitating on the West Bank. And that’s exactly what they’d do.”
“That wouldn’t look good.”
“I’m the most powerful and committed friend Israel has ever had, and I know you want me to continue helping you at least five more years.”
Netanyahu nods. “That’s right, Mr. President.”
“We can virtually guarantee my reelection right here, Bibi. We paint them as Muslim terrorists and racists and force the Democrats to support them after you ban them. That way I can continue to convince Americans that Omar and Tlaib, as well as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are the face of the Democrat party.”
“There’s no way you’d lose running against them next year,” says Netanyahu.
“So we have an understanding?”
“Of course, I’ll not only prohibit them from visiting, I’ll denounce them. That should help.”
“That helps a lot, Bibi. Thanks so much.”