What Friends Are For

…if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. Such a choice may scandalize the modern reader, and he may stretch out his patriotic hand to the telephone at once and ring up the police….Love and loyalty to an individual can run counter to the claims of the State. When they do–down with the State, say I, which means that the State would down me.

E.M. Forster, “What I Believe

How are you dear friend?

Did you hear about the closing [of] the American consulate in Jerusalem that provide[s] services for Palestinians?

This means a lot for us as Palestinians because this denies our presence as if there are no Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West [B]ank. Imagine that my son wants to travel and study in the USA, where can he apply for his visa? I am very disappointed my friend. My dream is that my son will study English literature in the USA. Now, it’s impossible.

What Trump is doing against us is unbelievable! He is contributing [to] making our life harder.

Please dear friend we need your support to stop this.

A Palestinian friend of mine from the village of (Arab) Tekoa, outside Bethlehem, not to be confused with the nearby Israeli settlement of that name

September 13, 2018, Irfan Khawaja to Malinowski for Congress campaign:


I just recently moved to the 7th Congressional District, and am considering my options for the upcoming election. In describing his views on “protecting our national security,” your website says that Mr Malinowski believes “that we must continue to stand by Israel.” It’s unclear what standing by Israel has to do with “protecting our national security.” But if Mr Malinowski thinks that there is some connection, he surely owes us some account of how far “our” support for Israel ought to go. What, for example, is Mr Malinowski’s view on the Israeli occupation and settlement enterprise, now in its 51st year? Does he intend to “stand by” that as well? Does he have a more detailed version of his views on this general topic?

Irfan Khawaja
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

September 17, 2018, Tom Malinowski Congressional Campaign to Irfan Khawaja:

Dear Irfan,

Thanks for reaching out to the campaign on this important issue.

Tom’s stance on Israel is that we must stand by Israel as a friend and ally. But being a friend and ally does not mean approving of every action that Israel takes. We disagree immensely with some of the actions of the current administration in Israel–but the administration is not the country, and we believe it is necessary for friends of Israel to both stand by the country and criticize [it] for actions we disagree with. This is the same thing we hope for and expect from our friends and allies these days, dealing with our current administration.

Team Tom [Tom Malinowski campaign, Democrat for Congress]
Martinsville, New Jersey

September 17, 2018, Irfan Khawaja to Malinowski campaign:

My question was the epitome of a lob, and you just swung at it and missed. I guess I’m gratified that Mr Malinowski doesn’t approve of “every action that Israel takes,” but I have to wonder whether he really wants credit for that pathetic “accomplishment.” If the answer you’ve just given me isn’t a case of “dialing it in,” I don’t know what is.

If Tom Malinowski can’t bring himself to refer to a 51 year military occupation as an occupation, much less to condemn it, I can’t bring myself to vote for him. One tires of Democrats of his ilk, who seem to labor under the illusion that with Trump in the White House and the Republicans in control of Congress, every registered Democrat can be counted on to vote for whatever Democrat happens to be on the ballot–regardless of what they stand for, or in this case, don’t stand for. It’s hard to vote for, or even take seriously, a Democratic candidate whose response to an apartheid state consists in saying that “we stand by” it without approving of every last thing it does. At that rate, I might as well be voting for P.W. Botha ca. 1992. I have better things to do with my time. And so, frankly, do the other 350,000 voters in the district.

–Irfan Khawaja
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

October 23, 2018, Irfan Khawaja to Hunterdon County Board of Elections, Flemington, New Jersey:

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