Politics

Pelosi Circles Wagons for Anti-Semitic Caucus

With Tlaib and Omar peddling hatred, the House speaker demands an apology from their critics.

Nate Jackson · May 14, 2019

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have already in their short congressional careers made it clear that they are deeply anti-Semitic. Both women are Muslim, which surely plays a key role in this hatred of Jews. Neither woman is committing “gaffes” or simply “misspeaking.” Their bile represents their true position.

The latest controversy surrounding Tlaib began with the following comment: “There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact 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, have been wiped out… And just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the 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, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, and it was forced on them.”

Got that? The Holocaust was a tragedy, but mainly for the Palestinians.

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein has a point-by-point rebuttal in which he sums up all the factual errors in Tlaib’s assertion. He concludes, “Tlaib’s claims that her Arab ancestors provided a ‘safe haven’ to Jews after the Holocaust ignores the Jewish presence in the region and efforts to establish a Jewish state that predated the Holocaust, ignores that her ancestors allied with Hitler at the time of the Holocaust, and ignores decades of violence and terrorism directed at Israel both before, during, and after the Holocaust.” Moreover, her comments are meant solely to delegitimize Israel.

And Benny Morris, a professor of history writing for The Atlantic, explains:

But the historical reality was quite different from what Tlaib described: The Palestinians indirectly, and in some ways directly, aided in the destruction of European Jewry…

Palestine’s Arabs — led by the cleric Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem — mounted a strident campaign to pressure the British … to bar all Jews from entering the country. … In 1936 they launched an anti-British and anti-Zionist rebellion that lasted three years…

British entry certificates for Jews to Palestine declined [dramatically from 1936 to 1938]. Those who couldn’t get in were left stranded in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and elsewhere. Almost all died in the Holocaust, which the Germans unleashed in 1941.

But the Palestinians’ contribution to the Holocaust was also more direct. Husseini … helped pro-Nazi generals launch an anti-British rebellion in Iraq in 1941 (which itself engendered a large-scale pogrom against Baghdad’s Jews, the Farhoud).

When that rebellion failed, he fled to Berlin, where he … lived in comfort until the end of the world war. During the war, he helped recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the German army and the SS, and in radio broadcasts exhorted Middle Eastern and North African Arabs to launch jihad against the British and “kill the Jews.”

Naturally, Tlaib didn’t back down. In fact, she claimed to be the victim of racists who objected to her statement: “You know, I got a text from a friend who’s like, ‘Hey, next time, you know, really clarify. Maybe talk like a fourth grader because maybe the racist idiots would understand you better.’”

It’s no surprise to see Tlaib’s anti-Semitism wrapped in gross revisionist history, or to see her double down and call her critics racists. Omar likewise charged critics with “Islamophobia.” What makes this episode stand out is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also backed up Tlaib. She accused Republicans of “desperate attempts to smear [Tlaib and] misrepresent her comments.” In fact, she demanded, they “should apologize to Rep. Tlaib & the American people for their gross misrepresentations.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joined her, insisting that Trump and congressional Republicans “owe [Tlaib] an apology.”

In short, this is the effluent of a party that thrives on identity politics. Earlier this year, Pelosi had to deal with how to respond to Omar’s anti-Semitism. The House ended up passing a vacuous resolution — with the votes of Tlaib and Omar! — generically condemning hatred and bigotry. Now, in a calculated political move, both Pelosi and Hoyer have circled the wagons, defending the Democrats’ increasingly favored brand of hate and accusing others of the true sin. Who runs the party again?

(Correction: Hoyer is majority leader.)

(Updated.)

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