May 15, 2019


EDITOR'S COLUMN: What did Rashida Tlaib say about the Holocaust? It's probably not what you think. (ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL, MAY 14, 2019, Jewish Telegraph Agency)

[I]t's not just Republicans who appeared to distort Tlaib's now notorious remarks. It was the ostensibly nonpartisan Jewish commentariat and media as well, in which I will include our own site, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and take full responsibility. [...]

Tlaib does not assert that Palestinians welcomed Jews or worked in any way to create  the "safe haven." Instead, she says, using the passive voice, that Palestinians were displaced "in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews." In fact, "it was forced on them" -- that is, the Palestinians. And despite the cost to her people in property and dignity, she goes on, she "love[s] the fact that" something good came of it  -- a safe haven for Jews who were suffering "horrific persecution" around the world.

She does say that it was her "ancestors that provided that," but "provided" is different than "created." And Tlaib qualifies "provided" with "in many ways" -- hardly an assertion of open arms -- and immediately says that "they did it" (presumably, Jews created the haven) in a way that "took their human dignity" (that is, the Palestinians' dignity).

Far from claiming that her ancestors worked to bring Jews to Palestine, or welcomed them when they arrived, she is saying that even if the Jews did come and take their land and rights away, at least it was for the alleviation of another people's suffering.

In acknowledging that suffering and noting her own people's, her remarks are closer in spirit to the anti-Zionist refrain that the Jews escaped the window of a burning house only to land on someone else's head.

Rashida Tlaib's Comments Weren't Anti-Semitic - They Were Philosemitic (Raphael Magarik, May 14, 2019, The Forward)

Yesterday, Representative Rashida Tlaib was smeared as an anti-Semite by Donald Trump and company. The accusation is false, but that's not news. Republicans have been using the anti-Semitism charge cynically for some time.

What is new, bitterly ironic, and quite sad, is that not only did Tlaib say nothing at all anti-Semitic, but what she did say was remarkably philo-Semitic. She made a morally courageous attempt to reach out to American Jews, a statement of almost heartbreaking moral generosity--and for that, she is being called "anti-Semitic."

Posted by at May 15, 2019 12:00 AM