Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) lashed out at Republicans Sunday after she found herself mired in yet another controversy, this time stemming from comments Tlaib made last week in which she said she experiences a "calming feeling" when she remembers the Holocaust.
What's the background?
As TheBlaze reported Sunday, Tlaib told Yahoo News' "Skullduggery" podcast last week:
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 many ways had been wiped out.
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? But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them.
The comments are controversial not only because Tlaib's remark about experiencing a "calming feeling" but also because they are a complete reinterpretation of history.
Palestinian Arabs, in fact, did not welcome Jews with open arms after the Holocaust, nor did they provide welcome refuge during the war. Rather, Palestinian leaders were notoriously hostile to Jews. One leader in particular, Haj Amin al-Husseini, even maintained a close relationship with SS commander Heinrich Himmler, the mastermind behind the Nazi "final solution."
How did GOP leaders react?
Top Republican House leaders, including Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and GOP Conference Chairman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), sternly rebuked Tlaib.
"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 said in a statement. "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."
Meanwhile, Cheney called on Democratic leadership to reprimand Tlaib for spreading "vile anti-Semitism."
"I call on Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Leader [Steny] Hoyer to finally take action against Representative Tlaib and other members of the Democratic caucus who are spreading vile anti-Semitism," she 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."
How did Tlaib respond?
In response, Tlaib claimed her comments were stripped from their context by those trying to silence her in order to push a "racist and hateful agenda."
Tlaib's office later released a statement condemning Republicans and "right-wing extremists" for "spreading outright lies to incite hate."