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Of Garish Dresses and Iron Domes

The magical Iron Dome, that miracle air-defense system that protects Israel from rocket-launching neighbors, apparently also works wonders when threatened by the wearer of a designer dress laced with the graffiti art of the progressive left. 

Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro College, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. He has written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction and hundreds of essays in major national and global publications. He is the legal analyst for CBS News Radio and appears on cable TV news programs. His most recent book is entitled “Saving Free Speech . . . from Itself.”

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Thane Rosenbaum
Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro College, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. He has written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction and hundreds of essays in major national and global publications. He is the legal analyst for CBS News Radio and appears on cable TV news programs. His most recent book is entitled “Saving Free Speech . . . from Itself.”

The magical Iron Dome, that miracle air-defense system that protects Israel from rocket-launching neighbors, apparently also works wonders when threatened by the wearer of a designer dress laced with the graffiti art of the progressive left. 

Imagine that: The Iron Dome is equally adept at intercepting warheads and wardrobe.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fashion statement at the Met Gala, a white gown ornamented with the signage “tax the rich” in garish red, made the Best Drop Dead List. Designed as a sassy billboard reminding those in Vogue, and en vogue, that Democratic Socialists were capable of crashing the annual party of the haute couture, the message landed on the runway with all the style points and cognitive dissonance of Marie Antoinette—more Halloween than Hollywood.

The congresswoman had apparently forgotten that being from Queens doesn’t quite make her one, even though she wasn’t required to shell out $35,000 for the ticket price—or even pay for the dress! Snagging that ticket was a rite of cultural passage and social acceptance available to few Americans. Yet, the Squad’s field general attended the Met Gala out of uniform, a risky faux pas among all those designer labels. 

Was she deliberately insulting her hosts? The paradox of a fashion plate who wouldn’t eat cake. Widely identified with the immigrant working class, and yet, unlike the “help,” she wasn’t wearing a mask. Apparently, reminding the rich to pay their fair share is all she wanted.

If the glitterati couldn’t take a joke, it didn’t matter. She soon had her sights on yet another target of woke progressives—Israel. 

The Jewish State needed to be taxed, too, for similar reasons. By unfairly deploying the Iron Dome, they weren’t allowing themselves their fair share of Jewish death. Saving Jewish lives interfered with the equities of war. 

Remember the most recent skirmish with Hamas? Over 4,000 rockets were launched toward Israeli population centers. Over 90% were blasted out of the sky and never touched ground. Only 13 Israelis were killed. How demoralizing for Hamas. Sure, they have been the aggressors in each of the four wars waged since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. But should that deprive Hamas of seeing dead Israelis? Apparently, it’s not a fair fight if Israel has a protective dome over its collective head. 

When Israel retaliates, as the universal rules of engagement entitles it to do, there are disproportionate Palestinian causalities—256, this past war. Gazans don’t have their own Iron Dome. And their use of human shields, illegal under international law, happens to be their chief military strategy. Such is the moral dilemma Israel faces and the world ignores.  

Gazans don’t have their own Iron Dome. And their use of human shields, illegal under international law, happens to be their chief military strategy. Such is the moral dilemma Israel faces and the world ignores. 

Every nation has a duty to protect its citizenry. But the certainty of collateral damage and the lopsided death toll exposes Israel to global condemnation. To oppose Israel’s Iron Dome is to believe that Jews must die whenever Arab countries attack them.

Thankfully, the vast majority of Congress, by a wide margin of 420-9, reject the lunacy of that logic. Israel is America’s staunchest ally and the only Democratic nation in the region, one that shares its values of self-government, personal liberty, religious freedom, and the rule of law—principles quite foreign in Arab nations. The House once more demonstrated its bi-partisan commitment to Israel by replenishing the tactical advantage of Israel’s Iron Dome. 

Nine congressional dissenters failed to derail the $1 billion aid package, however. Among them were the four members of the Squad. Representative Rashida Tlaib repeated the preposterous canard of Israel being an apartheid state. At the last moment, Ocasio-Cortez changed her “no” vote to “present,” which is tantamount to no vote at all. She then openly cried. 

For some, the thought of Jews being spared death is an occasion for sadness, not joy. The New York Times reported (and then stealthily retracted) that Ocasio-Cortez was pressured by pro-Israel lobbyists and rabbis to abandon her principles. What principles are those? That rockets should explode on diners in Tel Aviv? And regarding the suggestion that rabbis bullied her—seriously? Not my rabbis. They adore her. 

The tale of the dress and the dome is really textbook Critical Race Theory. “Taxing the rich,” and denying Israel the Iron Dome, are intrinsically linked. It’s all the same grievance: equity.

The tale of the dress and the dome is really textbook Critical Race Theory. “Taxing the rich,” and denying Israel the Iron Dome, are intrinsically linked. It’s all the same grievance: equity.

In “woke” parlance, there is a convergence of levies and equities. Paying one’s fair share is beside the point. Forfeiting white privileges is what truly matters. After all, white achievement is never owed to hard work, merit, initiative, entrepreneurship, advanced degrees, street smarts—even the occasional lucky break. The power differential is always a function of racism, the leveraging of white privilege to the disadvantage of people of color.

Ocasio-Cortez’s graffiti art, and tearful theatrics, had more to do with scorching the Earth than leveling the playing field. Like a true Democratic Socialist, she would sooner eliminate wealth than merely tax it. A decidedly dystopian, zero-sum game is being played out all throughout America: tear down and deface statues, dismantle and defund the police, shout down speakers, ban books, criminalize words, deprive white children of advanced math, and, of course, libel Israel as an apartheid state. 

True equity is not found in opportunity but in downfall, not in achievement but in comeuppance. In this new era of woke-world equity, Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell receive no credit for their laurels. Their success proves nothing, and offers no exoneration of an America rampant with racism. No happy, redemptive endings are allowed. The Squad would rather see America return to the Dust Bowl than tolerate any further disparities in the achievement gap, or blame people of color.

Given that it is apparently progressive to begrudge Israel its Iron Dome—and the destructive impulses of the Squad’s politics—equity in the Middle East depends not on Palestinians embracing statesmanship and renouncing terror, but on simply bringing an end to that Jewish “apartheid” state, Israel. That’s a heavy tax burden for Jews everywhere, but given the fashion of the times, who wants to stand in the way of equity? 

Don’t cry over Israel’s existence, Alexandria. Just please keep your distance.


Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro College, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. His work has appeared in major national and global publications. He is the legal analyst for CBS News Radio and appears frequently on cable TV news programs. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech … From Itself.”

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