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May 15, 2019 8:19 am

Veteran US Middle East Adviser Slams Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s Claim That Palestinians Gave Jews Safe Haven During the Holocaust

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Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib (r) embraces House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the first session of the US Congress in 2019. Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst.

A veteran former US Middle East adviser slammed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s claims that Palestinian Arabs gave Jews safe haven during the Holocaust, calling them “ill-timed” and “ill-advised.”

Tlaib said in an interview broadcast Saturday, “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 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,” she added. “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.”

Veteran State Department official Aaron David Miller responded to Tlaib on CNN, saying, “I think there ought to be a ban on the deployment or employment of Holocaust imagery and metaphor in Washington politics.” He called such statements “wrong” and said they lead to “misunderstanding and antagonism.”

Miller served as Deputy Special Middle East Coordinator in the Clinton administration, where he was heavily involved in Israel-Palestinian peace talks. He continued as a senior adviser on the peace process under Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush.

He also refuted Tlaib’s historical claims, saying, “It’s an arguable proposition, even if there had been no Holocaust, most of the institutions of the current State of Israel were in place before Hitler started killing Jews. … I suspect with or without it, the State of Israel would have come into being.”

He pointedly rebuked, “This notion that Palestinians, either negatively or positively, helped create a safe haven for Jews.”

Referring to Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, the de facto leader of the Palestinian Arabs in the 1930s and 1940s, and Nazi Field Marshal Irwin Rommel, who commanded German forces in North Africa during World War II, Miller said, “The reality is that the Arabs of Palestine, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti … collaborated and coordinated with the Nazis on what would happen if Rommel’s Third Corps had actually been successful in Egypt, and had been present in Palestine, they were actually considering extermination of the entire Jewish community there as well.”

“So this was ill-timed, ill-advised, and I think clearly is simply going to antagonize and polarize the already polarized debate in Washington,” Miller said of Tlaib’s comments.

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