Friday, October 13, 2023

She Meant "Non-Jewish Lives Matter"

In a statement on Instagram on Saturday, October 7, U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan and charter member of the "Squad" remarked

I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day. I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity.

The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.

The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer. No person, no child anywhere should have to suffer or live in fear of violence. We cannot ignore the humanity in each other.

As long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.


Joe Walsh is right on both counts.

The House Minority Whip is right, also- up to a point.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) put his support behind Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Wednesday amid criticism over her flying a Palestinian flag outside her Capitol Hill office and a statement she made about the war.

Criticism has mounted against Tlaib after the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday, starting a war that has killed more than 2,000 people on both sides. Tlaib is of Palestinian heritage.

“She’s Palestinian. It doesn’t mean she’s a terrorist. It doesn’t mean that she condones this,” Hoyer told a Fox News reporter in the Capitol. “I fly a Danish flag at my house.”


According to The New Republic, Tlaib has been displaying the flag since January, an understandable choice given her ethnic background. However, the defense by Hoyer, who is Danish-American on his father's side, of Tlaib included his statement "she condemned terrorist attacks."

That's objectively inaccurate but off-point. Blaming Israel for the war of terrorism launched by Hamas, as Tlaib clearly and brazenly did, is utterly reprehensible.  However, the congresswoman's response was less reprehensible than pathetic when she was confronted by Fox News correspondent Hillary (Hillary- on Fox News; really?) Vaughn and a cameraman. They

followed Tlaib and her staff as they walked through a hallway.

“Congresswoman, Hamas terrorists have cut off babies’ heads and burned children alive. Do you support Israel’s rights to defend themselves against this brutality?” questioned Vaughn as Tlaib ignored the reporter.

After one of Tlaib’s staffers said, “Excuse us. We’re just gonna go through here,” Vaughn repeatedly asked:

You can’t comment about Hamas terrorists chopping off babies’ heads? Congresswoman, do you have a comment on Hamas terrorists chopping off babies’ heads? You have nothing to say about Hamas terrorists chopping off babies’ heads? Do you condone what Hamas has done chopping off babies’ heads, burning children alive, raping women in the streets? You have no comment about children’s heads being chopped off?

As Tlaib and her staff entered an elevator, Vaughn continued, “Congresswoman, why do you have the Palestinian flag outside your office if you do not condone what Hamas terrorists have done to Israel? Do Israeli lives not matter to you?”

Served a hanging curve at the end, Tlaib could have replied "I hung the Palestinian flag outside my office some time ago because I am Palestinian as well as an American." She might have added something such as "I'm opposed to all terrorism." Neither would have been particularly controversial. Neither would have conflicted with her pro-Palestinian views, nor in itself would have suggested anti-Semitic or even anti-Israel sentiment. It would have gotten her off the hook, at least for this confrontation with Fox, which instead brought her significant criticism.

Alternatively, when  Representative Tlaib was asked "do Israeli lives not matter to you," she could have responded "All lives matter."  It is completely valid and should be difficult to argue with.

On second thought, according to the gospel of roughly 40 months ago, that comment is insensitive, racist, and smacks of white privilege. 


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