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May 16, 2019 4:46 am

The Ignorance of Antisemites

avatar by Mitchell Bard

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Opinion

Then-Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) during their campaign in August 2018. Photo: Rashida Tlaib via Twitter.

Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) remain unchastened following criticism of their antisemitic remarks, and they continue to demonstrate their ignorance of history and hostility toward Jews and Israel. The BDS campaign they support is full of similarly uninformed haters. This would be comical, if not for the fact that Jews are being murdered in synagogues, and antisemitism is surging — all while people like Omar and Tlaib normalize bigotry towards Jews.

The latest outrage from Tlaib was this remark:

There’s always kind of a calming feeling when I think of the tragedy of the Holocaust, 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, has been wiped out … in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-Holocaust, post-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 in many ways.

While much of the uproar over her comment focused on whether she was minimizing the Holocaust by saying she had a “calming feeling” when she thought about it, her falsification of history was undeniable.

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The Palestinians did everything in their power to prevent Jews from escaping the Nazis. They protested against Great Britain’s willingness to allow any Jews into Palestine, and their violent outbursts helped lead the British to impose strict quotas that condemned many Jews to death. Palestinians also murdered hundreds of Jews throughout the 1930s and 40s.

The most prominent Palestinian leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, provoked riots against the Jews in the 1920s, and later collaborated with Hitler. He essentially asked permission to exterminate the Jews in a letter to the Fuhrer in which he requested that Italy and Germany “accord to Palestine and to other Arab countries the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries in accordance with the interest of the Arabs and, by the same method that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries” [emphasis added].

In the same interview where she mentioned the Holocaust, Tlaib expressed her support for a one-state solution. This means Israel must disappear and be replaced by a state based on “equality” where no one is oppressed and everyone “can feel free and safe.” Of course, citizens of Israel already enjoy this life; it is Palestinians under Hamas and Fatah who are denied basic civil and human rights.

Omar had her own whopper when she retweeted a New York Times op-ed that suggested Jesus was a Palestinian. This is a canard often repeated by Palestinian propagandists such as Hanan Ashrawi (who was recently denied a visa to the United States). The Times subsequently issued a correction: “Because of an editing error, an article last Saturday referred incorrectly to Jesus’s background. While he lived in an area that later came to be known as Palestine, Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem.”

I wonder if Omar and others who believe that Jesus was a Palestinian have considered the implications if this had been true. His followers, including Judas, would have been Palestinians as well. Just imagine if Christians had believed throughout history that a Palestinian rather than a Jew had killed their Lord and Savior; Jews might have been spared centuries of persecution.

Omar and Tlaib support the BDS movement, which seeks to destroy Israel. Part of that campaign is to accuse Israel and its supporters of trying to divert attention from its alleged sins against the Palestinians by talking about positive aspects of Israeli society and admirable government policies. Ken Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, for example, responded to Israel providing Nepal with assistance after an earthquake by tweeting: “Easier to address a far-away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel’s making in Gaza. End the blockade!”

When anyone deigns to contrast Israel’s recognition of gay rights with their persecution by Palestinians, they are accused of “pinkwashing.” By hosting the Eurovision contest, it’s claimed that “Israel is attempting to use the contest for ‘artwashing’ its acts of crimes against humanity in Palestine.” AIPAC was accused of “blackwashing” for exploiting “young people of African ancestry for propaganda purposes in order to beautify Israel’s image.”

With all the washing, Israel must be the cleanest country in the world.

Historian Jim Wald noted the hypocrisy of these accusations being directed at only one country in the world. Moreover, he said, it is “a leaping non sequitur to go from the realization that nations seek to burnish their image to the accusation that absolutely everything a nation does is for cynical reasons of propaganda and as part of a systematic — even conspiratorial — attempt to conceal vast crimes.” Wald added: “We have now reached the deplorable point at which Israel can get literally no credit for any good that it does in the world.”

The sad truth is that antisemites are willfully ignorant and do not let the truth get in the way of their demonization of Jews and Israel.

Mitchell Bard is Executive Director of AICE and Jewish Virtual Library.

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