Backlash follows Michigan Rep. Tlaib's remarks
May 24, 2019
(JNS)—Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is standing by comments she made recently that include saying that Palestinians enabled a “safe haven” for Jews after the Holocaust, thereby reiterating her support for a one-state solution.
“There’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors—Palestinians—who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports,” Tlaib said on Yahoo News’ Skullduggery podcast. “And just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, and it was forced on them.”
American Jewish scholars immediately weighed in on a correction of the historical record.
“Congresswoman Tlaib’s ignorance is exceeded only by her gall. Had she read no further than Wikipedia, she would know that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, collaborated with both Italy and Germany by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS,” Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish History in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, told JNS.
“Those interested in facts, rather than distortions and propaganda, should consult Klaus Gensicke and Alexander Fraser Gunn’s ‘The Mufti of Jerusalem’ and the Nazis: The Berlin Years,’” or the very readable book by David Dalin and John Rothmann, ‘Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam,’” he continued.
More widely seen was the backlash from public officials, including U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust. She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?” tweeted Trump on Monday.
“The latest comments by Rep. Tlaib are ugly and disturbing. But sadly, they represent a consistent position of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told JNS on Monday. “Worse, the Democrat leadership continues to tolerate this hate-filled and anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
“Allowing this destructive language to continue unchecked goes directly against American ideals,” he continued. “It is time Democrat leaders finally take a stand in denouncing these vile statements.”
“.@RashidaTlaib says the Holocaust gives her ‘a calming feeling’ calling for a 1 state solution putting Jews in the minority & out of power of their own country. This is a heart filled w darkness & how the Holocaust began in 1st place,” tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.). on Sunday.
.@RashidaTlaib says the Holocaust gives her “a calming feeling” calling for a 1 state solution putting Jews in the minority & out of power of their own country. This is a heart filled w darkness & how the Holocaust began in 1st place. Listen @ 28 min mark. https://t.co/7ZEYSnxV4b.
—Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) May 12, 2019
“Answering a ? re her push for a 1 state solution removing Jews from power in Israel, Tlaib said thinking about the Holocaust gives her “a calming feeling” bc of a “safe haven” Palestinians provided to Jews. It’s a sick take & rewrite of history. The proposal is horribly wrong too,” tweeted Zeldin on Monday.
“There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in a statement.
“Surely now @SpeakerPelosi & @LeaderHoyer will finally take action against vile anti-Semitism in their ranks. This must cross the line, even for them. Rashida Tlaib says thinking of the Holocaust provides her a ‘calming feeling,’” tweeted House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon simply tweeted, “.@RashidaTlaib, your words are both grossly #antiSemitic and ignorant. You should take some time to learn the history before trying to rewrite it.”
Tlaib fired back at critics on Sunday evening: “Policing my words, twisting & turning them to ignite vile attacks on me will not work,” she tweeted later on Sunday. “All of you who are trying to silence me will fail miserably. I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda. The truth will always win.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) defended Tlaib on Monday.
“If you read Rep. Tlaib’s comments, it is clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are taking them out of context,” he told JNS. “They must stop, and they owe her an apology.”