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For once, I find myself agreeing with the contemptible Rashida Tlaib, the freshman Democratic representative from Michigan. Her vile comment that she gets a “calming feeling” when she thinks about how Palestinians allegedly offered refuge to Jews fleeing the Holocaust indeed was “twisted” and “taken out of context,” as she tweeted over the weekend.
In fact, what she said in a May 10 podcast interview is much worse—and it wasn’t a gaffe or even an example of her propagating the myth that Palestinians aided European Jews after World War II. Tlaib knew exactly what she was talking about.
The “safe haven” Tlaib referred to is the state of Israel, which officially declared its independence 71 years ago Tuesday. Make no mistake: Tlaib, a Muslim who supports a Palestinian-backed “one-state solution” that could make Jews a minority in Israel, views the formation of modern-day Israel as a crime against the Palestinian people. She soothes her rage with the fabulist belief that the sacrifices of Palestinians paved the way for Israel currently to exist—hence her weird “calming feeling” remark.
And far from an act of compassion by the Palestinian people, according to Tlaib, the creation of this “safe haven” was violently forced upon the Palestinians after the World War II.
“It was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their human dignity, their existence in many ways had been wiped out . . . all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world,” Tlaib told reporters Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman. “But they did it in a way that took their dignity away, right? And it was forced on them.”
Tlaib again reiterated her claim later in the interview. “I want a safe haven for Jews, who doesn’t want to be safe? I am humbled by the fact it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen.”
The congresswoman is referring to the diaspora of Palestinians from now-Israeli territory just before and after 1948, which happened for a number of reasons, including the reapportionment of the land and the threat of war. (Arab countries rejected the United Nations’ 1947 partition plan; five of its Arab neighbors attacked Israel the day after it declared independence.)
All About Israel
So, far from trying to sugar-coat Palestinians’ helpfulness in a post-Holocaust world, Tlaib was venting her anger about the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel, backed by the United Nations and the United States. She is traveling to the region in August on a junket sponsored by the Humpty Dumpty Institute; in a flyer distributed by her office, Tlaib asks her colleagues to join her on a “congressional delegation to occupied territories in Palestine.” (Her grandmother reportedly lives in the West Bank.)
During the trip, Tlaib explained, she wants her colleagues to see the injustice perpetrated against Palestinians by the Israelis. Tlaib often invokes her upbringing in Detroit and compares the plight of black Americans to that of Palestinians.
“I grew up in a city that is the most beautiful, blackest city in the country, the city of Detroit. I saw what oppression and inequality looks like,” she insisted. “I saw that separate but equal doesn’t work.” Tlaib is 42.
She claimed that being raised in an oppressed, segregated city is the “lens” she brings to her support of the Palestinian-backed one-state solution. When pressed that she holds the same view as Hamas, Tlaib babbled that the difference between herself and the terrorist organization is that “she comes from a place of love.”
Remember, this is the same lunatic who threatened to “impeach the motherfucker,” referring to President Trump, the night she was sworn into office in January.
But there were more anti-Semitic rantings during Tlaib’s interview. The congresswoman’s hatred for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is palpable. (I suggest watching the interview on video rather than the audio version for the full effect.)
Netanyahu solely is to blame, according to Tlaib, for the condition of the Palestinian people and for a failure to bring peace to the region. She condemned Netanyahu for supporting Trump’s proposed security wall along the southern border, then claimed the Israeli leader wouldn’t look her grandmother in the eye and say “you are equal to me, you are as human as I am to you, and yes, you deserve to die with human dignity.”
Tlaib’s passing mentions of the horrors of the Holocaust and her exploitation of the historical struggles of black Americans expose her base instinct to leverage any tragedy to traffic in her anti-Semitic garbage. And her repeated insistence that her only motivation is “love”—often through gritted teeth—is a tactic used by the most dishonest propagandists. (Isikoff even buys into her ploy, naming the podcast, “From Rashida with Love.”)
Anti-Semitic Democrats Go Mainstream
The drumbeat of anti-Semitic remarks from some of the outspoken Democratic members of the freshman class should alarm House elders, but it does not. A congressional resolution originally intended to admonish anti-Semitic comments was so watered down by an intimidated Democratic leadership that it probably worked to encourage more aggressive anti-semitism from those it targeted. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Monday afternoon demanded an apology from congressional Republicans and President Trump, not from Tlaib, for their criticism of her appalling remarks.
But both Tlaib and Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) seem determined to agitate the flat-footed Democratic leadership on the subject of Israel; both Muslim women support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, even though that pernicious campaign has been condemned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (As always, Omar accused Tlaib’s critics of being Islamophobes.) The pair also have questioned the so-called “dual loyalty” of lawmakers who support Israel, even accusing pro-Israel legislators of being paid off by Jewish lobbyists. On May 9, Tlaib joined Women’s March co-founder and anti-Semite Linda Sarsour at an impeachment rally on Capitol Hill.
Tlaib’s comments are more than mere downplaying of the atrocity of the Holocaust or even intentionally misrepresenting historical fact to put a shine on her heritage. It is an attempt to delegitimize the existence of the state of Israel and claim that it was created upon the persecution of Palestinians for the sake of creating a “safe haven” for Jews after World War II. In other words, she’s saying Israel exists at the pleasure of the Palestinians and that its existence is otherwise illegitimate.
This isn’t an attempt by a serious lawmaker to scrutinize U.S. policy toward Israel or pursue an honest peace-seeking plan. Tlaib regurgitates the most vituperative accusations about one of our most trusted allies at a time when anti-Semitic sentiment around the world is on the rise. Apparently, the halls of Congress are yet another place where anti-Semitism is now tolerated and even excused.
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