On Nov. 1st, Rashida Tlaib, who ran unopposed in her race to represent Michigan’s 17th district, become the nation’s first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress. Tlaib, whose mother was born in Ramallah, was initially endorsed by the far-left group J Street until, during media interviews conducted during the campaign, she contradicted her initial support for a two-state solution and came out instead for the Palestinian ‘right of return’ and a one-state solution. As Ron Kampeas of JTA observed, when it comes to the one-state solution, Tlaib is even an outlier among the other two women elected to Congress on Nov. 1 with whom she is most frequently grouped, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Like Tlaib, Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are on the hard left within the Democratic Party, but both have embraced the two-state solution.
A month before the election, Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy interviewed Tlaib and devoted some time to her positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Here’s the relevant section from the Aug. 13 interview:
Note how Tlaib immediately misleads by claiming that her Palestinian family was forced to stand in separate lines (at Israeli checkpoints, perhaps, but she doesn’t specify) with “other brown people”, evoking US segregation during Jim Crow and apartheid South Africa. Indeed, in previous interviews, Tlaib was more explicit, accusing Israel’s prime minister of carrying out “apartheid policies”.
However, such lines are not segregated based on colour – as more than half of Israelis are ‘brown’, in that they can claim Mizrachi, Ethiopian, or Arab ancestry – but on citizenship. Tlaib further deceives viewers when she claims that rights and privileges are bestowed in Israel based solely on religious faith and ethnicity, ignoring the roughly 20% of Israeli Arab citizens (largely Muslim) who enjoy the same civil rights as Jewish citizens.
When asked if she’ll vote against US aid to Israel, she says “absolutely”, that US aid should be contingent upon the recipient upholding certain values, and again repeats tropes falsely suggesting that Israel is an apartheid state. Unfortunately, the Channel 4 presenter didn’t ask whether she also supports ‘values’ testing aid to the Palestinians, and whether she would have voted for the Taylor Force Act, th US law that cuts Palestinian aid until they end stipends for terrorists and families of slain attackers.
At no point during the interview, were Tlaib’s erroneous claims challenged by the presenter.
Channel 4 News viewers would also be unaware of two extremely troubling tweets by Tlaib in 2015 and 2016.
This article is on point. I have witnessed it myself. How Israel Is Inciting Palestinian Violence https://t.co/X9BtVuoKPJ
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 21, 2016
She also tweeted her support for a convicted Palestinian terrorist in this tweet:
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) October 30, 2015
The link goes to an article at The Nation, which expresses support for Rasmea Odeh, who spent 10 years in an Israeli prison for her role in a 1969 bombing at a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two Hebrew University students. The article characterises Odeh, who was deported from the US last year for immigration fraud, as a victim of racially based targeting by law enforcement.
In 2014, during the summer war with Hamas, Tlaib spoke at a large anti-Israel rally in Detroit where she accused Israel of carrying out a “massacre” in Gaza. Noticeably absent from her speech was anything even remotely critical of Hamas.
Finally, It’s quite telling that, at the end of her speech, Tlaib evokes Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, two iconic civil rights heroes associated with ending institutional racial segregation in America, as that appears to be the egregiously distorted political lens through which the Congresswoman-elect sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We can only hope that, during subsequent interviews with Tlaib, journalists hold her accountable and critically scrutinise her radical positions – such as her apparent opposition to a Jewish state within any borders – and the uninformed, grossly ahistorical underpinnings of these views.
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