Newly-installed Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is being criticized for an antisemitic tweet she posted on Sunday evening, accusing pro-Israel Americans of dual loyalty — a common theme used by antisemites to attack Jews.
Tlaib tweeted in response to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is opposing legislation targeting the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement — itself widely considered antisemitic for singling out Israel.
Sanders and far-left Democrats oppose the anti-BDS legislation because, they claim, it stifles freedom of speech and association — though the same Democrats often support censorship of conservatives on campus and in media.
Many states — including far-left California — already have anti-BDS legislation, which typically does not prohibit boycotts of Israel but prevents state governments from doing business with those who participate in such boycotts.
Sanders tweeted in response to an article at The Intercept, which was co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, a harsh critic of Israel.
It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity. Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don’t reopen the government. Let’s get our priorities right. https://t.co/rHvpBHtHI5
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 6, 2019
In response to Sanders, Tlaib tweeted, “They forgot what country they represent”:
They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away. https://t.co/KkmqjR58ZM
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 7, 2019
The comment has been widely condemned for evoking an old attack on American Jews — namely, that they are not loyal to the United States. Similar false claims were made about Jews in Europe during the early 20th century by both Nazis and communists — even after Jews had served their countries in battle — leading to persecution and mass murder.
Tlaib’s comment also implies Jewish control of politicians — another frequent antisemitic theme on both the far-left and far-right.
The American Jewish Committee, a non-partisan organization, responded by tweeting a photo of Tlaib wrapped herself in a Palestinian flag after she won her primary election in Michigan:
Tell us more about dual loyalty, @RashidaTlaib. pic.twitter.com/mpUrLu2YIi
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) January 7, 2019
Philip Klein, the executive editor at the Washington Examiner, wrote about Tlaib’s dual loyalty “smear.”
Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland attempted this weekend to make a separate process argument against the bill, arguing that the Senate should not take up any business unrelated to ending the partial government shutdown.
But Tlaib obliterated that messaging strategy when she pulled out the anti-Semitic guns, saying advocates of the bill “forgot what country they represent.” The idea of Jews as having divided loyalty, and of using their influence to convince others to act against the interests and principles of their own country, is an age-old anti-Semitic trope.
Tlaib supports anti-Israel boycotts. She also defended former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill after he was fired for calling for the elimination of Israel and endorsing violence against Jews.
Tlaib opposes the existence of the state of Israel and advocates for its replacement by a Palestinian state.
Her stance is so extreme that even the George Soros-backed J Street, which nominally supports a two-state solution, withdrew its endorsement of her campaign last year.
Last week, Tlaib made news on her first day in office when she told a MoveOn.org event, “We’re going to impeach the Mother Fucker.”
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