Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, like her fellow freshman congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, suffers from the ailment known as putting one’s foot in one’s mouth.
Not to be outdone by Rep. Omar, who last month referred to the 9/11 terrorist attacks — in which several thousand Americans died — as “some people did something,” Rep. Tlaib decided to address an even more contentious topic: the Holocaust.
Last week the Michigan congresswoman took to Yahoo’s Skullduggery podcast to express her rather unorthodox opinions on the matter.
According to Tlaib — the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress — she gets a “kind of a calming feeling” when thinking about the Holocaust.
What did she mean by this?
At first glance it seems as if Tlaib is talking about a medical condition akin to heart palpitations.
One gets the impression that she should be speaking with a medical professional and not a political podcaster.
(Although if she does get calm thinking about genocide, maybe she should see a doctor in any case.)
Ultimately, there are only two explanations for Tlaib’s comments: 1) Either she’s a poor communicator, or 2) she’s an anti-Semite.
For the purpose of further investigation, we can look at additional comments she made on the podcast.
Could it be that Rep. Tlaib was truly in earnest when she said contemplating the Holocaust put her at ease, because, as she claims, her Palestinian “ancestors lost their land and … their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence?”
But isn’t this meditation on so personal a loss more likely to cause Tlaib anxiety — if not anger and resentment — rather than tranquility?
Yet Tlaib says that she “love[s] the fact that it was [her] ancestors that provided” European Jews with a place of refuge after the Holocaust — namely, the state of Israel.
Tlaib is also careful to recognize the Holocaust as a “tragedy,” even if she paints the role Palestinians played in the aftermath as something that “was forced on them.”
In short, it appears that Tlaib is sending a mixed message, praising the purpose behind the establishment of the Jewish state while also condemning the methods of its establishment.
As any experienced politician will tell you, muddled messages are one thing to avoid at all costs … so why would Rep. Tlaib purposely speak out of both sides of her mouth?
Why couldn’t she explain the complexity of her relationship to the Israel-Palestine dilemma without seeming to equate the Holocaust with the settlement of Israel?
Again, we are faced with Options 1 and 2: She’s either a political greenhorn, or she harbors genuine ill will toward the Jewish people.
In light of her freshman status, we might be willing to grant Tlaib the benefit of the doubt and chalk her comments up to sheer inexperience.
She is, after all, the same congresswoman who made waves back in January, only hours after being sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives, when she called the president of the United States a “motherf***er.”
But at the same time, this is only part of a larger pattern of behavior on Tlaib’s part. She’s a staunch supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement, which seeks to boycott any and all economic activity between the state of Israel and the United States.