Rashida Tlaib and the Trojan horse of antisemitic tropes

While we all should be condemning antisemitic stereotypes, we need to not lose focus on what’s the main cause of systematic left-wing antisemitism.

By ARI HORING
May 20, 2019 21:40
4 minute read.
Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib before Election Day in Michigan, 2018.

Democratic US congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib before Election Day in Michigan, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)

 
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After seeing the weak condemnation following Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s latest revisionist comments about the creation of Israel and the Holocaust, everything I have been warning about has finally come to pass. I have been concerned that the overly strong backlash to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s antisemitic tropes would unintentionally help enable more antisemitism, because it felt as though Jews and their allies were putting the cart before the horse, and losing sight of what truly drives mainstream left-wing antisemitism. 


Antisemitism from the Left is mostly caused by its inaccurate perception of Israel as an oppressive imperialist state. The irony is that this mainstream left-wing sentiment is actually rooted in what might be the most harmful antisemitic trope of them all: simply lying about Jews harming others, similar to the blood libel used against Jews in the middle ages. These modern-day blood libel tropes and other false accusations used against Israel, unlike Omar’s recent tropes, are actually much more systematic and dangerous to Jews because of their mainstream use in the left-wing political world. 
While people have been focusing on Omar’s vile antisemitic tropes, they largely ignored that Omar: supports the anti-Israel boycott movement; has claimed Israel is similar to Iran in not being a democracy; surrounded herself with antisemites like Linda Sarsour; covers for Hamas; and constantly lies and misleads about the Jewish state and the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


While we all should be condemning antisemitic stereotypes, we need to not lose focus on what’s the main cause of systematic left-wing antisemitism. The strong condemnation of Omar unintentionally gifted left-wing antisemites with a Trojan horse that gave them the green light to say whatever they want about Israel, as long as they avoid classical antisemitic tropes. 


There is no better example of this being true then by the lack of pushback from Democrats on Tlaib’s recent comments. We must never forget that what drives most of hate toward Israel are the constant lies, propaganda, double standards, disproportionate focus, demonization, and as Rashida just showed in her recent comments, a revisionist version of history. 


The comments by Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman to be elected to Congress, were made during an appearance on the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery. She said, “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.” 


IN LAST Friday’s podcast she said, “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.”


These comments are very harmful because she revised history, while alluding to the horrors of the Holocaust of all things, in order to make the Palestinians appear to be the victims of the Jewish state. 


This type of revisionist history is much more harmful than anything Omar said, because revisionist history often makes its way to the left-wing mainstream without much pushback. Her comments were historically inaccurate, because the initial Zionist movement to create a state for the Jews in the ancestral Jewish homeland predates the Holocaust by well over 50 years. This beginning of this movement in the 1880s coincided with a large influx of Jewish and Arab migration to the Ottoman-controlled territory of Palestine, a land that at the time was sparsely populated and desolate. 


Tlaib’s “ancestors” whom she mentions were also not historically known for helping Jews escape the horrors of the Holocaust or support them pre-Holocaust to come to the British Mandate of Palestine. In fact, if anything, it was the opposite.


In the Late 1930s, there was an Arab uprising in Palestine, which was largely focused on ending Jewish immigration and land purchases. The grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, an anti-Zionist leader during the British Mandate, actually allied himself with Hitler, blocked refugees, and proposed solving “the Jewish question” in Arab states in the same way it was “solved” in Germany.


But worst of all, Tlaib ignores the most important part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is way too often ignored by critics of Israel. 


The UN partition plan of 1947 divided Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab state, with the Arabs receiving the majority of the fertile land and the Jews receiving mostly desert. Unfortunately, the Arabs living there rejected the partition plan, and six Arab countries went on to attack the newly created State of Israel in 1948, which was the main cause of the Arab refugee problem. For Tlaib to pretend as though the reason for the refugee problem, and the reason why there was never another Arab state created was because of the Holocaust is simply revisionist history. 


The reason there wasn’t another Arab state and continues not to be another one, is because of a desire for there not to be a Jewish state at all, rather than to have another Arab state, as we saw once again in rejected offers by the Palestinian for a state in 2000 and 2008.

The writer is a 30-year-old attorney living in the Washington, DC, area. He recently created a whiteboard video explaining the root cause of left-wing antisemitism. 

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