House Republicans accuse Rep. Rashida Tlaib of anti-Semitism in wake of Holocaust remarks

"Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer must act now," House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney says

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 13, 2019 2:26PM (EDT)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (AP/Paul Sancya)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (AP/Paul Sancya)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., stands accused of anti-Semitism by prominent Republicans in the House of Representatives in the wake of recent comments she made about the Holocaust.

During an episode of Yahoo News' "Skullduggery" podcast, Tlaib argued for a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, invoking the Holocaust as a way of illustrating her point.

"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, their human dignity, their existence in many ways — have been wiped out and some people's passports," Tlaib said, according to CNN.

"I mean, 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, right, and it was forced on them," she continued. "And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that: Why couldn't we do it in a better way?"

Tlaib also added that "I want a safe haven for Jews. Who doesn't want to be safe? I am humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen, but I will not turn my back and allow others to hijack it and say that it's some extremist approach, because they're coming from a place of . . . whatever it is . . . of division, inequality."

In a response, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., released a statement saying "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."

"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," he added. "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."

Similarly, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., released a statement calling on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., to "finally take action against Representative Tlaib and other members of the Democratic caucus who are spreading vile anti-Semitism."

"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," she added. "History teaches us that anti-Semitism begins with words and becomes something far worse. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer must act now."

On Sunday, Tlaib responded by tweeting, "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."

Tlaib has previously been accused of anti-Semitism by conservatives. In January, she was criticized by Sen. Marco Rubio after writing on Twitter that senators supporting a bill that allows state and local government to ban contracts from entities boycotting Israel "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."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

All Salon Anti-semitism Holocaust News & Politics Rashida Tlaib Republicans