The left's upside-down priorities on Trump's meetings with tyrants

The White House schedule is increasingly being scrutinized – but not for the right reasons.

First on the meetings list is Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Fatah Party leader.  Second is Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines.  Americans – mostly human rights activists and those left of center, to put it nicely – applaud Abbas at the White House.  However, those same eager individuals who cheer for Abbas are vehemently opposing Duterte.

The truth is that displaying empathy for Abbas and hate for Duterte not only is appalling, but also disregards American foreign policy interests.

There are good reasons to view Duterte with animus.  His brazen, violent crackdown on illegal drugs domestically has violated human rights laws numerous times.  He himself has publicly stated his desire to kill those he believes to be criminals.  Yet his behaviors cannot overshadow or be compared to Abbas's.

Abbas, who is portrayed by the media as the Palestinian leader trying to liberate his people from Israeli tyranny, is in reality the source of Palestinian suffering.  Instead of ushering Palestinians into, at the least, an independent state, he has sunk them deeper into a national ideological belief predicated on the abolishment of a Jewish state of Israel.  Throughout his corrupt twelve-year presidency of a four-year term, he has continuously called for the murder of innocent Israelis and rewarded terrorists and their families for heeding him.  Instead of meaningfully educating Palestinian youths, Abbas's regime teaches children that the greatest accomplishment in life is to kill Jews.  (The Palestinian Authority has recently banned UNRWA from teaching in schools due to its sensitivity to Israelis.)

Disappointingly, the mainstream narrative couldn't be less fastidious about Mahmoud Abbas.  Instead of calling for a reform of Palestinian leadership, or highlighting the government's sponsorship of terrorism and Palestinians' extremist beliefs, the media condemn Israeli settlements as the chief obstacle to peace (something the Obama administration believed when abstaining from U.N. Resolution 2234).

Individuals who subscribe to the sinister initiatives of Palestinian leadership while fulminating over Trump's decision to invite Duterte to Pennsylvania Avenue misconstrue the situation.  They also misconstrue America's values and foreign policy principles.

Highlighting Duterte's meeting and not Abbas's ignores the repulsive behavior Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have shown to our greatest Middle Eastern ally, Israel.  Such a perspective demonizes a leader whose partnership America crucially needs as it sets its sights on taking down its greatest threat: North Korea.

The focus on these meetings needs to be reversed.  Americans need to reframe Abbas for who he truly is: a direct representation of Palestinian terrorism.  Working with such an individual on any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is futile and undermines Israel's true desire for peace and security in the region.  In the Pacific, Americans need to rebuild the bridge they lost with Duterte – not because we welcome his bellicose behavior, but because his support can aid in a more dangerous and looming disaster than his deadly war on drugs – namely, an American-North Korean conflict.

If you experience technical problems, please write to