On Sunday, House Republican leaders called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “take action” against Rep. Rashida Tlaib. This call for action came after Tlaib said that thinking about the Holocaust gave her “kind of a calming feeling” because once it was over, the Palestinians were able to help create “a safe haven for Jews.” Tlaib is the first Palestinian-America woman to have been elected into Congress. While appearing on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Tlaib made these comments while speaking about the ever-present conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.
In the podcast’s most recent episode, which was published on Friday, Tlaib said: “There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I 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, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports.”
Tlaib continued by saying: “And, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.” After the Holocaust, many Jewish refugees migrated to areas that are now considered to be parts of the Palestinian territories. Even though, historians have pointed out that the Jewish migration had started several decades earlier.
According to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, “There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance. More than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust; there is nothing ‘calming’ about that fact.” Scalise continued by saying: “Unfortunately, this is far from the first display of heinous anti-Semitic comments coming from Democrat House members this year, and it’s clear this is now the norm for their caucus. It’s long past time for Speaker Pelosi to take swift action and make it clear that these vile comments have no place in Congress.”
Liz Cheney, the House Republican Conference Chair, said that Tlaib’s comments were “sickening.” She also called on Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer “to finally take action against Representative Tlaib and other members of the Democratic caucus who are spreading vile anti-Semitism.”
Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican member of the House, said: “All of us, regardless of party, must stand as Americans against the evil of anti-Semitism. If the Democratic leadership continues to stand by in silence, they are enabling the spread of evil. History teaches us that anti-Semitism begins with words and becomes something far worse. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer must act now.”
Late Sunday evening, Tlaib wrote in a tweet: “Policing my words, twisting & turning them to ignite vile attacks on me will not work. All of you who are trying to silence me will fail miserably. I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda. The truth will always win.”
Spokesman for Tlaib, Denzel McCampbell, said in a statement released Sunday night: “Once again, Republican leaders and right-wing extremists are spreading outright lies to incite hate. Congresswoman Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself for using the tragedy of the Holocaust in a transparent attempt to score political points. Her behavior cheapens our public discourse and is an insult to the Jewish community and the millions of Americans who stand opposed to the hatred being spread by Donald Trump’s Republican party.”
McCampbell continued by saying that Tlaib “did not in any way praise the Holocaust, nor did she say the Holocaust itself brought a calming feeling to her. In fact, she repeatedly called the Holocaust a tragedy and a horrific persecution of Jewish people. Again, this behavior by a bankrupt Republican leadership is dangerous and only increases hateful rhetoric from those who want to cause harm to oppressed people. The Republican party has reached a new low.”
Along with Rep. Ilhan Omar, Tlaib has become the center of attention for critics who have accused her of encouraging anti-Semitic activists and rhetoric. Just last month, the Zionist Organization of America called for the Democrats to get rid of Tlaib and pull her assignments over “anti-Israel record” and her apparent relations with “terrorists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.”