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May 19, 2020 10:56 am

Where Are Jewish Groups and Others on Rashida Tlaib’s ‘Nakba’ Tweet?

avatar by Harry Onickel


US Congresswoman Rashia Tlaib of Michigan. Photo: Reuters/Rebecca Cook.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has made no secret of her feelings for Jews and Israel. She allowed a map in her office to be “fixed” by renaming Israel as “Palestine.” She dressed in a Palestinian thobe for her swearing in, and has wrapped herself in a Palestinian flag. But don’t accuse her of dual loyalties as she has done to Jews. And don’t accuse her of hating Jews. She does think there are good Jews. They are usually anti-Zionist Jews who share her hatred of Israel.

Tlaib’s most recent anti-Jewish broadside was her May 15 tweet, “Today, Palestinians around the world commemorate the Nakba (النكبة), Arabic for “catastrophe” recognizing the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestine. ~530 Palestinian neighborhoods were uprooted + destroyed +750,000 Palestinians became refugees.”

In consideration of people who lack the patience to read the tweet, and to create more visceral hatred for Israel and sympathy for Palestinians whose Arab grandparents fled their homes during the failed attempt to drive the Jews into the sea, Tlaib included an emotion-laden cartoon featuring two young girls comforting (presumably) an elder holding a key, while gazing at Jerusalem.

Tlaib is free to tweet her bigoted, ahistorical beliefs to her heart’s content, but referring to “ethnic cleansing” and Palestinian neighborhoods being uprooted and destroyed are lies as big as Jews being given “a safe haven” by her ancestors after the Holocaust.

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The “Nakba” was the failed attempt by five Arab armies to strangle Israel upon its rebirth in 1948. While Israel survived and now thrives (to Tlaib’s obvious chagrin), it was Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem by the Jordanian occupiers. It was Jews who suffered massacres at Arab hands even before Israel’s War of Independence. It was 850,000 Jews who fled or were forced out of Arab and Muslim countries after Israel was reborn.

Tlaib is a sitting congressional representative engaging in an anti-Jewish blood libel and historical revisionism as odious as any coming from the Holocaust denial industry. The Nakba is a carefully crafted, 72-year-old lie designed to usurp the documented facts in order to deny Israel’s legitimacy. The ultimate goal is to destroy the world’s sole Jewish state.

Congressional Democrats and Jewish organizations should be speaking out against Tlaib’s Nakba tweet. Failure to do so allows antisemitism to grow and spread. We know from history that an increase in verbal attacks against Jews leads to physical attacks, as it has all across America in recent years.

But the Democratic Party will ignore Tlaib’s Nakba tweet because the Democratic leadership got burned so badly in trying to call out Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on her antisemitism. Most major Jewish organizations won’t step up because they are afraid of making enemies.

Tlaib was elected in a very safe district, and she will likely hold her seat for as long as she wants the job. When she steps down, someone like her will probably take her place. And as long as tweets like this are ignored and Jewish organizations continue to be silent, she will be joined by other congressional representatives who think like her and will join her in spreading the same revolting lies and Jew-hating message.

We should be up in arms about any instance of antisemitism, as we would be against any other bigotry — especially when it comes from a government official. The time to speak up is now.

Harry Onickel is a freelance writer living in Ferndale, Michigan.

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