Liz Cheney and Right-Wing Outrage Machine Lie About Rashida Tlaib's Comments. Corporate Media—and Trump—Do the Rest
A measured and nuanced discussion of the Holocaust, Israel, and Palestinians was intentionally mischaracterized by right-wing media and politicians Sunday, leading to corporate media and the president amplifying dishonest attacks on one of the nation’s only two Muslim Congresswomen.
“I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda” — Rep. Rashida Tlaib
The controversy comes from remarks made by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” published Saturday. During the discussion with podcast co-hosts Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman, Tlaib referred to her Palestinian ancestry and reflected on the complicated modern history of her homeland.
“There’s, you know, there’s a 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, had been wiped out,” said Tlaib. “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.”
Tlaib also mused as to whether there had been a better way forward for both people that didn’t continue the cycle of persecution and expressed her support for a one-state solution in Israel and Palestine.
“I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, in many ways,” said Tlaib “But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them. And so, when I think about one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?”
The comments were seized upon, and then twisted, by Philip Klein, a reporter for the right-wing Washington Examiner. Klein said that Tlaib’s comments were “shocking and historically ignorant” and stated—taking the phrase wholly out of context—that Tlaib said the Holocaust left her with a “calming feeling.”
Klein’s piece was picked up by extreme right-wing figures like Twitter personality David Wohl and Fox News personality Dan Bongino before receiving the endorsement of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third most powerful Republican in the House.
Referencing Klein’s dishonest framing of Tlaib’s “calming feeling” comment, Cheney called on House Democratic leadership to take action against the Michigan representative.
“Surely now @SpeakerPelosi & @LeaderHoyer will finally take action against vile anti-Semitism in their ranks,” Cheney tweeted. “This must cross the line, even for them.”
Cheney’s tweet was called out on Twitter Sunday evening by James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, who called the Congresswoman’s obsession with Tlaib “disgraceful.”
“Your party’s been playing this game for a decade,” said Zogby. “Shame.”
Cheney’s tweet was followed by a statement from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who once referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage,” decrying what he described as anti-Semitism.
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