Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) says her critics are "bigoted" for suggesting she supports Hamas. But the Squad member has a long history of cozying up to the terrorist group behind the largest attack in Israel’s history—one of many anti-Israel, pro-terrorist groups she’s embraced.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press Wednesday, Tlaib offered a qualified criticism of Hamas, saying that the terrorist group's attacks on innocent Israeli's "were war crimes," but also claiming Israel's response "is a war crime." Tlaib on Wednesday also called her critics "bigoted" for suggesting that she supports the murder of civilians, "whether in Israel or Palestine."
But while Tlaib has repeatedly denounced Israel as an "apartheid state" engaged in genocide, she has made no specific condemnation of Hamas or Hezbollah. The Gaza-based group Hamas slaughtered more than 1,000 Israelis and two dozen Americans in an invasion last weekend, and has taken dozens of women and children hostage. Hezbollah has joined the fighting with a series of rocket launches from Lebanon, raising concern because of the group’s large military arsenal and alliance with Iran.
A look at Tlaib's allies and fundraisers further call into question the congresswoman's stance on the terrorist groups.
Tlaib has ties to a pro-Palestine activist who praised Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terror group, for attacking "Shitsreal," a derisive term he used for the Jewish state. Tlaib has met repeatedly with a Michigan-based newspaper publisher who claims Hezbollah has made Lebanon "safer." Two of Tlaib’s campaign bundlers have pushed anti-Israel and pro-terrorist views. One is alleged to have raised money for a Hamas front group in the 1990s. Another Tlaib ally who has hosted two fundraisers for the Democrat this year has promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Tlaib’s allies have praised both terrorist groups, according to their social media accounts.
There’s Abbas Hamideh, the founder of Al-Awda, a pro-Palestine group in Ohio. Hamideh last year cheered that "Hezbollah slaughtered Shitsreal." Hamideh, who wrote "may Hezbollah keep kicking ass," attended Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony in 2019 and met with her during her 2018 congressional campaign.
Tlaib has worked closely with Osama Siblani, the publisher of the Arab American News, a news outlet in Tlaib’s district outside Detroit. Siblani cheered that "Hezbollah delivered on its threat: you bomb us, we will retaliate." He wrote that "Hezbollah is making Lebanon and the Lebanese people safer." Tlaib and Siblani sat together at a community event in 2019 and appeared at a pro-Palestinian rally last year where Siblani urged Arabs to fight Israel with "stones" and "guns." Tlaib’s campaign has spent around $3,000 advertising in Siblani’s newspaper since 2020, according to campaign finance records.
Another Tlaib ally, Salah Sarsour, has been accused of financing Hamas through front groups in the 1990s, according to FBI documents. Sarsour, an official at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, organized fundraisers for Tlaib in 2018 and 2020.
Tlaib has appeared frequently with Maher Abdel-qader, a Palestinian activist who promotes anti-Semitism and Holocaust denialism on his social media pages. Abdel-qader organized fundraisers this year for Tlaib in New York and Chicago. In 2018, Tlaib thanked Abdel-qader for helping her "stay true to my roots."
Tlaib has dodged questions about those friendships. In 2019, she blasted "right-wing media" for exposing her affiliation with Hamideh, who was born in Puerto Rico but has adopted the Palestinian cause. Tlaib ignored questions last year about her ties to Siblani.
Siblani has maintained access to other Democratic lawmakers, where he has used his influence to push for the end of travel restrictions for Muslims, the Washington Free Beacon reported. He was invited to a roundtable discussion last year with Sen. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He was also invited to take part in a conference call with Biden White House officials. Siblani has bragged that he refused during the White House event "to apologize for Hamas firing rockets at Israel."
The Tlaib allies have all denounced Israel in the wake of the Hamas attack. Hamideh is organizing a rally in downtown Cleveland on Friday. Siblani organized a rally in Dearborn earlier this week that accused Israel of "racist ethnic cleansing." He also chided Democratic lawmakers as "shameless" for appearing at a synagogue in Detroit to support Israel. Sarsour organized a rally in Milwaukee this week, and accused Israel of waging a "genocidal war" against Palestinians, the Free Beacon reported.
For her part, Tlaib has refused to remove the Palestinian flag she flies outside her office at the Capitol. She ignored questions about reports that Hamas decapitated Israeli children. Her office did not respond to the Free Beacon’s request for comment.