Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib gets a “calming feeling” when she reflects on the deaths of millions of Jews during the Holocaust, but she loves “the fact” that her Palestinian ancestors “were trying to create a safe haven for Jews” after World War II.
Tlaib, an outspoken Palestinian-American and one of two female Muslims in Congress, drew backlash from her colleagues in Congress and others over anti-Semitic comments on a Friday episode of the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery.
President Trump joined Republicans blasting Rep. Rashida Tlaib for comments the congresswoman made about the Holocaust to Yahoo News’ podcast “Skullduggery.”
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) May 13, 2019
“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 …,” 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 he horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time,” she said. “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.”
Israel did not officially become a state until 1948, but Jewish migration to the area began decades before the war, the International Business Times reports.
History also disputes Tlaib’s “fact” that Palestinians helped to protect Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
The Washington Examiner quotes an excerpt from the Holocaust Memorial Museum about Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Amin Al-Husayni, the Palestinian leader at the time who allied with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis:
al-Husayni collaborated with the German and Italian governments by broadcasting pro-Axis, anti-British, and anti-Jewish propaganda via radio to the Arab world; inciting violence against Jews and the British authorities in the Middle East; and recruiting young men of Islamic faith for service in German military, Waffen-SS, and auxiliary units.
In turn, the Germans and the Italians used al-Husayni as a tool to inspire support and collaboration among Muslim residents of regions under Axis control and to incite anti-Allied violence and rebellion among Muslims residing beyond the reach of German arms.
“There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise wrote in a statement. “More than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust; there is nothing ‘calming’ about that fact.”
“Unfortunately, this is far from the first display of heinous anti-Semitic comments coming from Democrat House members this year, and it’s clear this is now the norm for their caucus,” he added. “It’s long past time for Speaker Pelosi to take swift action and make it clear that these vile comments have no place in Congress.”
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney also condemned the “sickening” comments.
“All of us, regardless of party, must stand as Americans against the evil of anti-Semitism,” Cheney said, according to Fox News. “If the Democratic leadership continues to stand in silence, they are enabling the spread of evil. History teaches us that anti-Semitism begins with words and becomes something far worse. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer must act now.”
President Trump weighed in on Twitter on Monday.
“Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust. She obviously has tremendous hared of Israel and the Jewish people,” Trump wrote. “Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?”
The controversy follows similar reactions to anti-Semitic comments from Tlaib and fellow Justice Democrat Ilhan Omar, the House’s other female Muslim congresswoman. Omar recently came under fire for referring to the September 11 terrorist attacks as “some people did something.”
Omar also faced criticism for alleging America’s interest in and protection of Israel is tied to Jewish money, though she half-heartedly apologized for offensive remark.
Tlaib, on the other hand, is offering no apologies for her commentary about the Holocaust.
“Policing my words, twisting & turning them to ignite vile attacks on me will not work,” Tlaib posted to Twitter. “All of you who are trying to silence me will fail miserably. I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda. The truth will always win.”
Tlaib did not elaborate on how her recorded words were taken “out of context.”