In a press release this morning, Rep. Allan West asked why the PLO is allowed to fly its flag above its Washington office but Taiwan is not.
“By allowing this flag to be flown, the United States is extending a diplomatic right that we refrain from offering to even our own allies, like Taiwan,” said West. “This action is a diplomatic slap in the face of our greatest of allies, Israel.”
The Taiwan-PLO comparison is an excellent point. As far as officially recognized states go, Taiwan is clearly further along that path than Palestine is. The U.S. has also recognized Taiwan as a country in the past.
Here are some more comparisons between Taiwan and Palestine:
• Unlike Palestine, Taiwan has been an autonomous, self-governing entity for decades.
• Unlike Palestine, Taiwan doesn’t claim that the only way it can ever be free is if it destroys the state next to it (in this case, China).
• Unlike Palestine, Taiwan has been a reliable ally of the U.S. for years.
• Unlike Palestine, the U.S. has trusted Taiwan enough to sell it extensive arms, including F-16s under President George H.W. Bush.
West is right that this is a slap in the face to Israel — but it’s also a slap in the face to Taiwan, which has no hope of being recognized any time soon. According to West’s press release, he has joined House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in speaking out against the PLO flag being flown. Both members of Congress are asking President Obama and the State Department to rescind the authorization given to the PLO to raise the flag.