News

Politics & Policy

Tlaib Dismisses Criticism of Anti-Semitic Group That Planned Palestine Trip as ‘Distraction’

Rep Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill, July 15, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) defended her aborted plan to attend a trip to Israel and Palestine sponsored by a notoriously anti-Semitic group on Monday, arguing that criticisms of the organization were intended to serve as a “distraction” from Israeli human-rights abuses committed against Palestinians.

Tlaib and fellow Democratic representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were barred from Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week over their affiliation with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The pair were planning on attending a trip to the country that was funded and planned by Miftah, a non-profit Palestinian advocacy group with a lengthy history of endorsing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Addressing the resulting controversy during a Monday press conference, Tlaib and Omar distanced themselves from Miftah, emphasizing that they weren’t aware of the group’s background when they decided to attend the trip, and adding that they implicitly trusted the group because other Democratic members of Congress participated in similar trip sponsored by it in 2016.

“Our colleagues that are senior members, some of whom have served multiple terms, actually told us about the organization. We’re not the ones who chose the organization. A U.S.-based sponsor organization chose it. But I think there were five members of Congress that actually went on a trip sponsored by the same organization,” Tlaib said when asked about criticisms of Miftah.

The freshman Michigan lawmaker went on to argue that, while she was unaware of Miftah’s background, recent criticisms of the group represent a cynical attempt to distract from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

“We’re just as taken aback and learned from everybody else that there are some issues around the organization. I think these are just distractions into the fact that this had nothing to do really with the agenda or these other issues,” she continued. “I think the focus is the hiding of the truth and hiding that the occupation is happening. I think they knew that us setting foot there would basically bring attention to something that many of us feel is very much against international human rights.”

In 2013, Miftah published an article on its website endorsing an ancient anti-Semitic trope that accuses “Jews [of using] the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”

The group subsequently apologized for the post, but it has issued no such apology for the numerous articles in which its contributors praise suicide bombers who have killed scores of civilians as legitimate combatants in a war for Palestinian rights.

Most Popular

Religion

Chick-fil-A’s Shameful Capitulation

After what one Chick-fil-A executive called “years of taking it on the chin,” referring presumably to the decades of hectoring leveled at the company by LGBT activists, the press, and scolds at American colleges and universities, the fast-food chain announced its decision to withdraw support from three ... Read More
Religion

Chick-fil-A’s Shameful Capitulation

After what one Chick-fil-A executive called “years of taking it on the chin,” referring presumably to the decades of hectoring leveled at the company by LGBT activists, the press, and scolds at American colleges and universities, the fast-food chain announced its decision to withdraw support from three ... Read More
Film & TV

Frozen II Is a Fjord Fiasco

Since Frozen was a nearly perfect Disney feature, Frozen II brings with it the expectation of magic. Magic is really hard to pull off, though, and this time the sparkle is gone. In Frozen II, the story is strange, the jokes are terrible, the romance is nonexistent, and the songs are clunkers. Fairy tales that end ... Read More
Film & TV

Frozen II Is a Fjord Fiasco

Since Frozen was a nearly perfect Disney feature, Frozen II brings with it the expectation of magic. Magic is really hard to pull off, though, and this time the sparkle is gone. In Frozen II, the story is strange, the jokes are terrible, the romance is nonexistent, and the songs are clunkers. Fairy tales that end ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Clock

Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry is incoherent. Given the impossibility of a senatorial conviction, the only strategy is to taint the president with the brand of impeachment and weaken him in the 2020 election. Yet Schiff seems to have no sense that the worm has already turned. Far from tormenting Trump and ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Clock

Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry is incoherent. Given the impossibility of a senatorial conviction, the only strategy is to taint the president with the brand of impeachment and weaken him in the 2020 election. Yet Schiff seems to have no sense that the worm has already turned. Far from tormenting Trump and ... Read More
Elections

Warren’s Wealth Tax Is Unethical

Senator Warren would impose a 2 percent annual tax on wealth above $50 million, and a 6 percent annual tax on wealth above $1 billion. These numbers may seem small, but remember that they would be applied every year. With wealth taxes, small numbers have large effects. Applied to an asset yielding a steady ... Read More
Elections

Warren’s Wealth Tax Is Unethical

Senator Warren would impose a 2 percent annual tax on wealth above $50 million, and a 6 percent annual tax on wealth above $1 billion. These numbers may seem small, but remember that they would be applied every year. With wealth taxes, small numbers have large effects. Applied to an asset yielding a steady ... Read More