Rashida Tlaib Has Her History WrongRoundup
tags: Israel, Palestine, Rashida Tlaib
Benny Morris is the Author of 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.
On Friday, Representative Rashida Tlaib was attacked by President Donald Trump for a “horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust” and for having “tremendous hatred of … the Jewish people.” Trump’s off-base attack distracted from the actual problems with Tlaib’s account of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which she deployed deliberately imprecise language, misleading her listeners about the early history of the conflict in Palestine and misrepresenting its present and possible future.
Tlaib told the hosts of the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery that when she remembers the Holocaust, it has a “calming” effect on her to think that “it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land, and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity; their existence in some 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.” She was, she said, “humbled by the fact that it was [my Palestinian] ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen.”
But the historical reality was quite different from what Tlaib described: The Palestinians indirectly, and in some ways directly, aided in the destruction of European Jewry.
After Hitler’s accession to power in Germany in 1933, German and then Eastern European Jews sought escape and safe havens. But all the Western countries, including the United States and Britain and its dominions, closed their doors to significant Jewish immigration. Palestine emerged as the only potential safe haven. In 1932, the British allowed 9,500 Jews to immigrate to Palestine. In 1933, the number shot up to 30,000, and in 1935, it peaked at 62,000.
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