Monday, May 13, 2019

Bigotry Not Exclusively In The Executive Branch


Among the tweets about a remark made by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib:

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in our country but it has nothing to do with Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar whose words are being maliciously twisted. It has everything to do with Trump’s white supremacy which is emboldening racist domestic terrorists and mass shooters.

— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) May 13, 2019

Dr. Gu is correct. The increase in anti-Semitism is probably attributable to Donald Trump and is most assuredly not resulting from anything pertaining to Michigan's Rashida Tlaib or Minnesota's Ilhan Omar.

But at least in the case of Rashida Tlaib, it is not for want of trying. CNN reports

Speaking on an episode of Yahoo News' "Skullduggery" podcast that was released Friday, Tlaib was asked about her support for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She began by noting the recent observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day before veering into the historic position of the state of Israel.

"There's kind of a calming feeling I always 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.

She continued, "I mean, 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, right, and it was forced on them. And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn't we do it in a better way?"

When asked whether advocating for a one-state solution could be seen as reckless, Tlaib replied, "No, I'm coming from a place of love, for equality and justice, I truly am."

"I want a safe haven for Jews," she added. "Who doesn't want to be safe? I am humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen, but I will not turn my back and allow others to hijack it and say that it's some extremist approach because they're coming from a place of... whatever it is... of division, inequality." Tlaib responded

Policing my words, twisting & turning them to ignite vile attacks on me will not work. 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.

Tlaib was accused by Israel's ambassador to the United Nations of "trying to rewrite history," by Wyoming senator Liz Cheney for "vile anti-Semitism" for "thinking the Holocaust provides her a 'calming feeling,'" and by President Trump for "horrible and highly insensitive" comments which demonstrated a "tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people."





The President recently implied that Jews harbored a dual loyalty when at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition he referred to Benjamin Netanyahu as "your prime minister" and claimed a Democratic victory in 2020 "would cripple our country and very well could leave Israel out there all by yourselves." He did not say "you Jews care as much about Israel as about our own country." Politicians, even the forever crude Donald Trump, are not that explicit.

Neither was Tlaib, but she was awfully close.  "When I think of the Holocaust," the Michigan Democrat stated, she is reminded of " 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..."  "You say the Holocaust was bad," she might have well said, but "look what happened to the Palestinians!"

Palestinian Arabs fled Palestine, leaving the land to the Jews, in 1949 under controversialcircumstances.   Yet, Tlaib clearly believes Jews were responsible because "they did it in a way that took their human dignity away." (Tlaib here seems to be referring to Jews as "they." Referring to an ethnic group one loathes as "they" is an old tradition.)

To be sure, the Michigan congresswoman does want to assure us that she is exceedingly modest, "humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen." We did Jews such a favor, she wants us to know, sacrificing to the point of death for their sins.

Tlaib had previously stated that she opposes a two-statesolution, one Jewish and the other Palestinian Arab. Therefore, when she stated on Skullduggery, "when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn't we to it in a better way?" she is hanging out a "no Jews need apply" banner.

In her defense, Representative Tlaib, oddly admitting to a "calming feeling," may have only a working knowledge of the English language and thus may have meant something different than what she stated. And of course, the federal government's leading bigot is one Donald J. Trump. However, Tlaib now is competing with Steve King (R-IA) as the leading voice of prejudice in the United States House of Representatives. Let's hope she is "humbled."



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