Former Michigan State Legislator Shanelle Jackson To Challenge “Antisemitic” Rashida Tlaib

Rashida Tlaib may be about to face one of her worst nightmares.

Besides Israel actually calling her bluff and allowing her to visit her Sity, that is.

She is about to face off against a real woman of color…who loves Israel while calling Tlaib out for antisemitism

Shanelle Jackson, a former Michigan state legislator in Detroit who now works in the private sector, told Jewish Insider on Thursday that she intends to challenge Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in the open-seat Democratic House primary for the newly drawn 12th Congressional District.

Jackson also emphasized that she is a supporter of Israel, which is almost certain to emerge as a high-profile issue in the race as Jewish community members and pro-Israel advocates have taken issue with instances in which Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who is among the first two Muslim women to serve in the House, has established herself as a fierce critic of the Jewish state.

“When she gets that mic in front of her, she goes crazy and goes to many extremes,” Jackson, who served with Tlaib in the Michigan statehouse, told JI. “I really feel like it’s now or never as it pertains to being able to sort of shut her down and calm down some of the antisemitic rhetoric.”

Jackson, an evangelical Christian, said she has long felt a “strong reverence” for the Jewish state. In 2010, as a state representative, Jackson said she visited Israel on a delegation with the local Jewish federation, an experience she characterized as having left an “indelible” impression on her foreign policy outlook.

“Just saying it real plain, I believe that the United States and Israel are sisters, and I can’t imagine living in a world where our nation didn’t have Israel’s back,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking, to be honest with you, to have Rep. Tlaib not even wanting to explore that path.”

As she prepares to launch her campaign, Jackson said she is planning to reach out to Jewish voters in the Detroit-area district, which takes in Southfield, a majority-Black suburban enclave that is also home to a robust Jewish community. “I want to convey to the Jewish community that, as an African-American woman, to me, our stories are extremely similar,” she told JI. “We can look at the history of the civil rights movement, we can look at our shared history here in this country.”

“I think that we have sort of a natural bond, and obviously that’s not there with her,” Jackson said of Tlaib. “So where I don’t have the answers, or the things that I don’t know, I’m open to learning because of this natural bond and kinship and love that I have for the Jewish community.”

Here’s hoping Tlaib loses that calming feeling and her chances of winning go to the dogs.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media