Rep. Rashida Tlaib is under fire for saying this:
I think two weeks ago or so we celebrated, or just took a moment I think in our country to remember the Holocaust. 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… 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. And so, when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that why can’t we do it in a better way? And I don’t want people to do it in the name of Judaism, just like I don’t want people to use Islam in that way. It has to be done in a way of values around equality and around the fact that you shouldn’t oppress others so that you can feel free and safe. Why can’t we all be free and safe together?
Some have criticized Tlaib for getting a “calming feeling” when she thinks of the Holocaust, but that’s not what she said. Her calming feeling supposedly comes from “the fact it was [her] Palestinian ancestors” who “tr[ied] to create a safe haven for Jews post-the Holocaust.”
The problem with Tlaib’s statement isn’t insufficient outrage over the Holocaust. She may or may not be guilty of this, but her statement acknowledges “the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time.”
The problem with her statement is the claim that Palestinians tried to create a safe haven for Jews. Nothing could be further from the truth.
David Harsanyi at The Federalist sets the record straight:
The Zionist movement long predated Hitler, even if Palestinian leadership had aligned itself with the Nazis during the war. By the time the Holocaust was over, Jews had already gained enough power to defend themselves, and Arabs had already been launching pogroms, terrorism, and political attacks for decades. . . .
After the Balfour Declaration of 1917, a British government document that endorsed “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. . .there was immediate and violent anti-Semitic reaction [by the Arabs].
This, despite the fact that Jewish migration had been exceptionally beneficial for the Arabs living in the area. Rarely mentioned in the Israeli-Palestinian debate, in fact, is that significant Arab migration into a largely empty land was spurred by Jewish economic development. Jews were not displacing Arabs, they were attracting them.
Not that it mattered. As the Peel Commission Report, a British paper recommending partition in 1936, noted, “the Arabs have benefited by the development of the country owing to Jewish immigration, this has had no conciliatory effect. On the contrary… with almost mathematical precision the betterment of the economic situation in Palestine meant the deterioration of the political situation.”
Does Tlaib get a calming feeling from the fact that Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian cause, personally, with the backing of Himmler, Eichmann, and other Nazis, intervened to stop the issuing of at least 400,000 visas to Jews trying to emigrate to British Palestine? Most of those Jews ended up in concentration camps rather than the “safe harbor” of Haifa.
How about the fact that the Husseinis, the leading force in Palestinian politics, modeled their Palestinian youth organization on the ideas of Hitlerjugend, initially calling it “The Nazi Scouts”? Does that calm Tlaib?
Focusing, as Tlaib does, on the period immediately after the Holocaust, Harsanyi reminds us:
[T]he United Nations partition plan—which would have created a Jewish state and independent contiguous Arab one—was rejected by Palestinians in 1947. [And] those Palestinians, with nearly every Arab nation, then attempted to engage in a massacre of Jews only a few years after the Holocaust.
Nor had the Palestinians ever backed a single state in which Jews and Arabs would co-exist peacefully and on an equal basis. Jewish leaders proposed such a state, but their plan was rejected. Indeed, says Harsanyi, “every plan that didn’t end in complete subservience of Jews to the Palestinians was rejected with violence.”
To call Tlaib’s account of what happened post-Holocaust “revisionist” doesn’t do it justice. It’s a bald-face lie.
Does Tlaib believe her account? That’s the most charitable interpretation — that she’s been brainwashed.
The alternative explanation is she’s flat out lying about what happened immediately after Hitler tried to wipe out the Jews. That’s no way to “celebrate,” um “remember,” the Holocaust.