The Forward Defends Rashid Tlaib’s Comments as “Philosemitic”


The Rashid Tlaib Holocaust comments have generated what can be described as a tidal wave of responses.

Without going into an overly deep analysis, it would be fair to opine that most, if not all, pro-Israel people took great offense at her historical revisionism when she suggested that her ancestors created a safe haven for Jews in then Palestine. While I believe there was not an insignificant level of misinterpretation of her comments to impute the claim that palestinians actively helped the Jews at the time (where nothing could be further from the truth), at the very least she was suggesting that such a safe haven did exist, and her ancestors – by virtue of being forcibly removed (also false) – helped create it. Or something.

But we know her ancestors were murdering Jews in Palestine left, right and center. And when they weren’t murdering them, there were those collaborating with the Nazis to help finish the job (such as Hitler ally and admirer Haj Amin al-Husseini).

Others have suggested her comment “there’s kind of a calming feeling” when she thinks of the Holocaust somehow points to her genocidal ambitions. Perhaps she has those ambitions – I cannot read minds – but I doubt she is stupid enough to say it out loud. It was just a clumsily worded comment in my opinion.

What I can say is this: The Forward – which never misses an opportunity to defend Jew haters – published the most asinine piece I have seen on the topic. It does not only defend Tlaib from accusations of antisemitism, but suggests her comments were “philosemitic.”

Tlaib acknowledges and honors the need of the Jewish people for a “safe haven” after the Holocaust. She was explaining that she understands Jews’ desire and need for a place to go after the Holocaust, and that a very serious good was accomplished by them going to Palestine, though it came at the obvious cost to her people.

Leftists usually describe Zionism as a colonialist project, imposed by strong European Jews on hapless Palestinians. By centering the Holocaust, Tlaib acknowledged Jewish vulnerability. She described Jewish migration to Palestine not as a colonialist imposition of power but more, in the old metaphor, as a man jumping out of a burning building who lands on a bystander.

To be clear, Tlaib is sharply critical of Israel, supports the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, and is probably personally an anti-Zionist. It would be hard for a Palestinian on the Left to be otherwise.

But that just makes her comments all the more courageous. It doesn’t take much courage to talk about the Holocaust as a Zionist. But to believe that Jewish Israelis are violent occupiers oppressing your people and occupying their historic homeland, and yet to explain sympathetically why they have done so? That is moral empathy for your enemy.

Well done to The Forward, for becoming one of the great Jewish gaslighting publications of our generation. It is voices like yours that embolden antisemites like Rashid Tlaib.

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A lawyer by education, David Lange - founder and managing editor of Israellycool - found his calling in advocating for Israel and the Jewish people. He is available for public speaking engagements.