Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) spoke at a rally this month with a pro-Hamas newspaper publisher who urged Palestinians to attack Israel.
Tlaib shared the stage with Osama Siblani, the publisher of the Dearborn-based Arab American News, at the second annual Metro Detroit March for Jerusalem Palestine on May 15. Siblani, whose newspaper cosponsored the event, urged Arabs in Michigan and elsewhere to “fight within [their] means” against Israel, whether it be with “stones,” “guns” or “their hands.” He sang the praises of the “fedayeen”—Islamic militants—for “striking [Israel] with knives and with their bare hands.”
In her speech, Tlaib railed against what she called the “apartheid” Israeli government and urged Arab Americans to run for office in order to advance the Palestinian cause in Washington, D.C.
Tlaib has emerged as one of the most vocal anti-Israel activists in Congress and is a strong backer of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to inflict economic harm on Israel. Tlaib has accused Jewish supporters of Israel of holding dual loyalties, a term widely considered anti-Semitic in nature.
Siblani has an extensive history praising the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas. He told the Washington Post in 2003 that he viewed Hamas and Hezbollah as “freedom fighters” rather than terrorists. He told the Chicago Tribune in 2006 he would “be willing to go to jail” if the FBI decided to round up supporters of Hezbollah. Tlaib’s campaign has accepted $1,250 in contributions from Siblani since 2018, including $500 on March 13, according to Federal Election Commission records. Tlaib’s campaign spent $1,025 in 2020 on ads in Siblani’s paper, which has a history of publishing anti-Semitic content.
The Michigan rally featured other controversial speakers, including Rabbi Dovid Weiss. The anti-Zionist activist has attended Holocaust denial events with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Weiss gave a gift to the head of Hezbollah at an event in Beirut in 2018.
The Michigan rally was held to commemorate “the Nakba,” a Palestinian phrase for Israel’s founding that loosely translates to “the catastrophe.” Tlaib and other House members affiliated with “the Squad” introduced a resolution a day after the rally calling for the U.S. government to recognize “Nakba Day.” Jewish lawmakers and pro-Israel groups called the resolution anti-Semitic.
“This resolution is just the latest in a long line of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel statements, policies and actions by the most radical voices in the Democratic Party,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), who is Jewish, said in a statement. “This group on the far-left never misses an opportunity to dangerously promote anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments and agendas.”
The Coalition for Jewish Values, an advocacy group representing more than 2,000 rabbis, said Tlaib’s promotion of the Nakba resolution is an “indelible stain on Congress.”
“Every Member of Congress, especially those who are Jewish, has a moral obligation to repudiate this hateful resolution,” Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, the group’s president, said in a statement, adding that “the real catastrophe is that we have reached the point that this was introduced.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition described the Nakba Day resolution as “another attempt by the most radical leftists in Congress to delegitimize our ally Israel and to promote anti-Israel and frankly anti-Semitic efforts to destroy the only democracy in the Middle East.
During Nakba Day demonstrations in Ramallah and other Palestinian territories, speakers advocated for Israel’s destruction and committed themselves to conducting terrorism operations against the Jewish state.
Tlaib came under fire in August 2021 when she claimed that wealthy pro-Israel forces are “behind the curtain” controlling U.S. policy. The statement was widely condemned as an anti-Semitic dog whistle by groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents, which represents major Jewish-American advocacy organizations.
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