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May 30, 2022 11:11 am
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Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Silence Openly Approves Violence Against Jews

avatar by Gil Troy

Opinion

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

In an America wracked by violence, apparently it is okay to call people out to “fight with stones … fight with guns … fight with planes, drones, and rockets,” as long as the targets are Jews, and you end your call for bloodshed with those magic, cleansing words: “Free, free Palestine.”

That certainly is the impression Representative Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan Democrat, left by her silence on May 15 at a Dearborn “Nakba Day” rally she attended.

During the rally, the publisher of the Arab American News — Osama Siblani, clad jarringly in a fashionable Boss shirt — was not subtle at all in blessing the bloody, horrific axe murders, knifings, and shootings in Israel that have killed nearly 20 in the last few months — including fellow Arabs, although I count all the victims of terrorism as innocent, be they Jews or Arabs, Ukrainians or Druze.

“Do you see what is happening in Palestine?” he said. “They are striking them with their knives and with their bare hands, and they are victorious.”

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Lovely. Some victory.

What kind of victory is it when a Palestinian in B’nai Brak aims at a two-year-old, but the dad turns the attempted infanticide into a mere homicide by throwing his body between the murderer and his toddler?

What kind of victory is it when that same shooter kills a Christian-Arab police officer with a Jewish girlfriend, who was probably doing more to cross lines and build bridges in the Middle East than the entire US Congress?

And what kind of victory is it when two Palestinians, using the same Jewish driver they have used before to get to work, pull out axes in Elad and start smashing his skull and others’ — murdering the driver and two other dads, while leaving others with shattered skulls housing wounds that will torment them for the rest of their lives?

We should all thank the ever-reliable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) for translating this sickening violence-soliciting-video. We should also thank Representative Tlaib for her silence.

At least it’s honest.

I genuinely would have applauded Representative Tlaib had she arrived on Capitol Hill, proud of her Palestinian identity, but determined to be a true Progressive, and progress beyond the violence that courses through the heart of the Palestinian national movement.

She could have served her people far more effectively by trying to create a synthesis, using the liberal nationalism central to Americanism — and Zionism — to temper the fire-breathing ethnic Islamic nationalism central to Palestinianism. She could have been a voice for the democratization of her people. She could have tried detoxing their formal national movement, helping Palestinian leaders and activists withdraw from their addiction to terrorism and dictatorship. She could have showed that you are far more effective in nation-building if you work with outsiders and respect insiders, rather than targeting those who dare disagree with you while repressing your own people.

Instead, she is playing to Palestinian nationalists’ worst, least-constructive, most-maximalist instincts — while turning many Progressives into enablers, applauding what is essentially a genocidal plan against the nine million Jews and non-Jews living in Israel today.

So, at least Tlaib’s silence in the face of verbal violence is clear. It doesn’t confuse naïve Jews with the occasional virtue signal claiming that she believes violence is bad. Because apparently she doesn’t.

Her silence in Dearborn should echo loudly in Washington, where she just introduced her Nakba Day resolution. It’s worth reading from start to finish, because it is so one-sided, so distorted, that, like Tlaib’s silence, this package of lies rationalizes violence even if it doesn’t explicitly call for it.

You read this downright juvenile, overly-simplified version of history — I call it twistory — and all the fingerpointing makes it clear: the Palestinians are perfectly innocent victims, oppressed and dispossessed by the perfectly-awful Zionists. Such logic doesn’t encourage a two-state solution — it validates a Zero-State solution, meaning a no-Jewish-state solution, echoing that bellicose rallier, Osama Siblani, who treats the Jews as interlopers who must be removed from the Middle East.

The first lines of Tlaib’s Nakba resolution begin dishonestly — and it deteriorates from there. The first “Whereas” mentions the UN 1947 Partition plan, but adds that the proposed division “into two states” went “against the wishes of Palestine’s majority indigenous inhabitants.” Nevertheless, and without acknowledging the costs of such intransigence, the next “whereas” tries freezing Israeli history in a 1947 plan that the Jews reluctantly accepted– hoping for peace — and the entire Arab world rejected — gunning for war.

History is not a video game. You can’t press a reset button and start again. Tlaib’s Nakba Nihilism is trying to undo 75 years of history and ultimately eliminate the only democratic state in the Middle East — the Jewish democratic state of Israel.

On one level, all this rhetoric is harmless. While it might upset some American Jews, Israelis are too busy building, growing, enjoying, celebrating, living life to its fullest, to care. But toxic, bloodthirsty rhetoric, with even minority Congressional approval, fuels and deludes Palestinian killers and extremists, helping them believe their maximalist calls and homicidal attacks make a difference abroad, even in democratic America.

Beware. Perhaps in the United States, only guns kill people. In the cauldron of the Middle East, calls to kill people help kill people too.

Gil Troy is a Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University, and the author of nine books on American History and three books on Zionism. His book, Never Alone: Prison, Politics and  My People, co-authored with Natan Sharansky, was just published by Public Affairs of Hachette.

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