Tlaib, Omar and their apologists

By Henri Roth on June 19, 2019

I understand that Jewish progressives have mastered the art of mental contortion in order to reconcile their political choices with the anti-Semitic mutterings of Democratic stars Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, but the usual rationalizations, distortions and cognitive dissonance of the apologists have reached a new low as some have  sharply criticized — are you ready for this — not Tlaib’s repugnant comments but rather Republicans for having the gall to criticize this poor woman’s obviously heartfelt efforts to reconcile with the Jewish community.

Here is what she said : “… There’s a kind of calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust in the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives … in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews… and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right?”

So what gave her that “calming feeling”?  Was it the Holocaust itself (not completely implausible given her past utterings and associations) or was it simply pride in her Palestinian ancestors’ warm welcome of the Jewish refugees (a total fabrication given the decades-long violent resistance to any Jewish presence in the Middle East as well as the 1948 Arabs’ efforts to eradicate the Jewish state)?

According to the "progressives," she wasn’t associating her warm feelings with the Holocaust itself.  Rather she was rightfully complaining about the “cost to her people in property and dignity."  It doesn’t hurt that Omar and Tlaib are Muslims, a handy ‘other’ for political factions that like to invoke America’s Judeo-Christian tradition.

Do you get it now?  Omar and Tlaib are pitiable victims of those awful Republicans and their Neanderthal Islamophobe supporters.  The fact that their hateful comments have been criticized by a broad range of people representing the entire spectrum of political opinion (save those Democrats who cleave to victim politics the way a mongrel holds onto a T-bone) seems to mean nothing.  The fact that Tlaib and Omar have associated with known terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, called for the destruction of the Jewish state, invoked the worst of anti-Semitic tropes virtually every time there’s a microphone in front of their faces and completely ignored or lied about the origins of Palestinian suffering; none of that seems to register with deniers because their deep intellect dictates that no Muslim can be faulted for their completely justifiable hostility to Jews and Israel.

 Rashida Tlaib has demonstrated on numerous occasions how she feels about Jews and Israel and no amount of clever nuancing  changes that reality. I fear for our future as Jews and I fear for Israel’s security, not because of any malevolent outside force but because there is such a large number of progressive Jews who find excuses for any anti-Jewish pronouncement emanating from an individual or group they have designated as ‘victims’.  Guess a whole bunch of Jews have to die before they too can be classified as victims.


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