Tlaib on Holocaust: I Have a 'Calming Feeling' Knowing My Ancestors Helped 'Create a Safe Haven for Jews'

Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Rep. Rashida Tlaib / Getty Images
May 12, 2019

Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) on Friday invoked the Holocaust in a positive light, saying she felt a "calming feeling" knowing her ancestors helped "create a safe haven for Jews."

Tlaib made the claim about  her ancestors during an appearance on the Yahoo News Skullduggery podcast when she was asked about her support for a one-state solution between Palestine and Israel.

"So congresswoman, you’ve created something of a stir by coming out in favor of a one-state solution, Israel and Palestine, and I think you may be the only Democrat who’s publicly supported a one-state solution, so what is your vision for a one-state solution that meets both Palestinian and Israeli-Jewish national aspirations?" asked Dan  Klaidman, the co-host of the podcast and Yahoo's editor-in-chief.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman elected to Congress, said within the last two weeks she "celebrated" and "took a moment I think in our country to remember the Holocaust."

"There’s kind of a calming feeling, I always 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, the human dignity, their existence in some ways had been wiped out," Tlaib said.

"All of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right?" Tlaib continued. "In many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them."

Later in the interview, Klaidman suggested that a one-state solution would lead to Jews becoming  a minority in that state, prompting Tlaib to say, "It’s not up to us to decide what it looks like."

"But isn’t it giving up, to say we’re just going to — the idea of two-state solution with two independent states that are sovereign and independent and free, aren’t you giving that up, that dream?" Klaidman asked.

"But I didn’t give it up, I didn’t give it up. Netanyahu and his party gave it up and the Israeli government gave it up," Tlaib said.

Tlaib later attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his policy by claiming that "We can smell it from far away that, no, you don’t want to look at my grandmother in the eye, Netanyahu, and say ‘You are equal to me. You are as human as I am to you.’"

American Jewish Committee Assistant Executive Director Avi Mayer corrected Tlaib's version of history by pointing out Jews were met with hostility from Palestinian Arabs.

Tlaib has a history using anti-Semitic rhetoric and supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.

She expressed her support of the Palestinian state back in early January. She spoke out against Senate Bill S.1, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.). She castigated the "Combatting BDS Act," a measure contained in the "Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019" to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Tlaib said the act is "literally an attack on our Constitution."