Palestinian Historian On Rashida Tlaib's Holocaust Remarks: I Don't Know What She's Talking About

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Posted: May 15, 2019 6:15 AM
Palestinian Historian On Rashida Tlaib's Holocaust Remarks: I Don't Know What She's Talking About

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Like her partner in crime, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has once again ventured into territory that engulfed her and her party in controversy again.  Are Democrats vying to be the party of anti-Semitism? They’re working very hard in cornering that market. Omar has a long history of peddling anti-Semitic tropes; her latest gave Nancy Pelosi a migraine when she accused supporters of Israel of exhibiting dual loyalty. A resolution condemning anti-Semitism was drafted and then diluted because not all Democrats were on board. The felt it was unfair to single out Omar. Yep, the Democratic Party had trouble drafting a simple resolution lamming hate speech. Omar hasn’t apologized and now with Tlaib’s remarks about the Holocaust, the Democratic leadership has decided to not dither and circle the wagons around her. This is what the Michigan Democrat, who has also made no secret of her plan to impeach President Trump, said about one of the most heinous crimes against humanity in history last week on the Skullduggery podcast for Yahoo! News [emphasis mine]: 

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 some people's passports," Tlaib said ... "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."

Okay—that’s a very poor choice of words. Also, it omits a key point here: the Palestinians sided with the Nazis. CNN’s John King aptly noted this on his program this week. 

The right of return would destroy Israel as well. There’s not a single lefty in Israel who would back such a policy. Also, when the state of Israel was created in 1948, via UN mandate a year prior, the reaction from Arab states was, well, similar to that of the Nazis: kill them all. Israel had to fight three wars with the Arab states to ensure her survival. So, obviously, there was no era of good feelings here. Even Palestinian scholars are confused about Tlaib’s remarks, with one scholar flatly saying he has no idea what the congresswoman is saying. It seems on this subject, both Israeli and Palestinian historians agree: Tlaib’s rosy picture of Arabs just providing a “safe haven” for Jews (via Haaretz):

Both Israeli and Palestinian scholars told Haaretz that they had great difficulty embracing any view of history in which the Palestinians played any part in providing a “safe haven” for Jewish refugees of the Holocaust.

Rashida Tlaib is either completely ignorant of the history or is a deliberate liar,” charged Prof. Benny Morris, one of the leading scholars of British Mandatory Palestine, the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the War of Independence in 1948-1949.

Morris said Tlaib’s ancestors, meaning Palestinians, “did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Jews at Nazi hands. Rather, the opposite: The Arabs of [British Mandatory] Palestine, during the whole period — and supported by the neighboring Arab states — did all they could to prevent Jews trying to escape Nazi hands from reaching the (relatively safe) shores of Palestine.”

The anti-British and anti-Zionist revolt launched by Palestinian Arabs between 1936 and 1939 both deterred European Jews from escaping to Mandatory Palestine and motivated the British rulers to prevent more refugee Jews from entering Palestine so as not to inflame the Arabs, Morris said.

He also pointed out that the leader of the Palestinian Arab nationalist movement, Haj Amin al-Husseini, during his exile in Berlin from 1941-1945, “called for the massacre of Jews in the Arab world on Nazi radio stations — an anti-Jewish ‘jihad’ — and helped the Nazis recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the SS and Wehrmacht.”

Palestinian historian Dr. Adel Manna, a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, expressed bewilderment when asked about Tlaib’s “safe haven” reference.

“I don’t know what she meant,” Manna said.

[…]

Israeli historian and writer Tom Segev also said he was confused by Tlaib’s “safe haven” description.

“I have never heard anybody say that before,” he told Haaretz. “I really can’t imagine that any Palestinian shares that noble sentiment” of being calmed at the notion of a Jewish “safe haven” being created with such a high price.

“I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt that she really meant it,” Segev said, “but to me — and maybe I’m cynical — it sounded like an attempt to be ironic or sarcastic.”

Granted, a few of these scholars interviewed for this piece also noted that the backlash against Tlaib was hyper-political and partisan. Sorry, you just can’t trust people, like Tlaib, when it comes to these issues based on her resume, which isn’t pretty:

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