As Rashida Tlaib Brings Anti-Semitism into the Democratic Mainstream, the Media Turn a Blind Eye

As Rashida Tlaib Brings Anti-Semitism into the Democratic Mainstream, the Media Turn a Blind Eye

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February 4, 2019

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Earlier this week, the Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib drew criticism from her fellow Democrat Eliot Engel—chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—for her plans to organize a congressional delegation to the West Bank that would not visit other parts of Israel. As Matthew Continetti explains, this is just one part of Tlaib’s broader anti-Israel agenda, which journalists are all too happy to ignore:

Tlaib is [bringing] anti-Semitic policies and rhetoric into the mainstream—and many news outlets are far too obsessed with the novelty of her identity to care. They suffer from milestone myopia—the inability to see beyond a person’s race, ethnicity, creed, and sex.

Running last August in a competitive primary to replace John Conyers, Tlaib supported a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. She also said she wanted to continue aid to Israel. These positions won her the endorsement of the progressive group J Street, and the donations that often follow its imprimatur. But as soon as she won—by fewer than 1,000 votes—Tlaib [claimed to have] changed her mind. . . . She endorsed the so-called right of return, said she stands “by the rights of people who support” the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, and called for a one-state solution. . . .

The policies she supports would abolish Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. She isn’t talking about overturning the outcome of 1967. She’s talking about overturning [Israel’s founding in] 1948. . . . By January 6, describing senators who support a GOP Senate bill that would combat BDS, Tlaib tweeted, “They forgot what country they represent.” Here was an outright accusation of dual loyalty, an old anti-Semitic trope. And an ironic one, too, considering how Tlaib [literally] wrapped herself in the flag of the Palestinian Authority on the night of her election. . . .

Tlaib’s personal history acts as cover for her fringe politics. Press outlets are so infatuated with the election of two Muslim women to Congress—Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota also backs BDS—that news stories scarcely ever mention their views on the Middle East. Last August, the New York Times published a story by Elizabeth Dias with the headline “For Rashida Tlaib, Palestinian Heritage Infuses a Detroit Sense of Community.” But Dias seemed too dumbfounded by Tlaib’s religion to devote any space to her actual foreign-policy views.

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