The Attacks on Rashida Tlaib Are Dishonest and Disgraceful

Rashida Tlaib
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I’ve read the transcript of Rashida Tlaib’s words in the bogus “controversy” a number of times. I saw the actual video of what she said for the first time earlier this afternoon. This controversy is so baseless, so riddled with bad faith and malice. It’s simply gross. I don’t agree with Tlaib on everything. I don’t agree with her advocacy of a one-state solution, which is what she was actually arguing for in the interview in question. But she wasn’t saying anything malicious or even terribly remarkable in those words, let alone anything anti-Semitic. She was talking about the reality of Palestinian dispossession in the creation of the state of Israel but how this loss, one closely tied to her ancestors and national community, wasn’t for nothing. Palestine became a haven for Jews fleeing the Holocaust and as refugees in the aftermath of the Holocaust. She doesn’t say Palestinian Arabs were welcoming them, as some are claiming. She certainly doesn’t diminish the horror of the Holocaust in any way. She basically says that some good came from the dispossession because the Jews were also an oppressed and endangered people and she takes some comfort from that even though it was at the expense of the Palestinians.

Here’s the video …

This entire episode is just a disgraceful smear which is part of a calculated and on-going Republican effort to demonize these two freshman Muslim members of Congress to score partisan points and focus attention away from the Republican party’s coddling of far-right white supremacists and neo-Nazis. It’s gross. It’s despicable. It is apparently endless.

I’m not afraid to criticize when it’s merited, as I think I demonstrated, even to the deep unhappiness of some TPM readers, after Ilhan Omar’s comments about foreign “allegiances.” But the aim here is clearly to police any and all statements by these two members of Congress to try to pit American Muslims against American Jews to gain partisan advantage in the U.S. political arena — a conflict right-wing Republicans would like to create but which mainly does not exist. Most are cases like this where it is clearly an intentional distortion of what she said. That’s reprehensible and a danger to Jews as much as it is to Muslims.

A number of people are claiming that Tlaib said Palestinians welcomed Jews to Mandatory Palestine after the Holocaust. That’s clearly not true. It is just as clearly not what she said. Listen to her actual words.

Earlier this afternoon Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. diplomat and frequent commentator on Middle East issues, was on CNN tut-tutting about Amin al-Husseini, Palestinian resistance to the creation of Israel, how much the pre-state institutions of what was called the “Yishuv” predated the Holocaust and more and how all her comments are deeply unfortunate and bad history and the like. His comments weren’t malicious like the Republican agitprop. But they were equally wrongheaded.

This is a dark, bad-faith attack.

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