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FACT CHECK: FALSE! Rep. Rashida Tlaib Claims Palestinians Gave Jews 'Safe Haven' from Holocaust

05-13-2019
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) PHOTO CREDIT: Patrick Robertson

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said she gets a "calming feeling" when she thinks about how her Palestinian ancestors gave up their land "to create a safe haven for Jews" after the Holocaust when Israel was established as a modern state in 1948. 

Tlaib made the controversial comments while speaking as a guest on the "Skullduggery" podcast Saturday. She said she supports a one-state solution where Jews and Palestinians live together in unity, but argues Israel's policies have denied Palestinians dignity. 

"There's always kind of a calming feeling I 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 around the 28 minute mark.

"And 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 continued. "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 and it was forced on them."

She then said she hopes to see a one-state solution that is not based on Judaism or Islam. 

"I don't want people to do it (create a one-state) in the name of Judaism just like I don't want people to use Islam in that way. It has to be done in a way that values around equality and around the fact that you shouldn't oppress others so that you can feel free and safe. Why can't we all feel free and safe together?"

One of the podcast hosts, Daniel Klaidman, challenged Tlaib on the one-state solution and argued that mathematically if every Palestinian refugee returned to the land of Israel, Jews would immediately become an ethnic and religious minority. 

"But Dan, that's not up to us to decide what it looks like," Tlaib shot back. 

Tlaib's statements stirred controversy with a number of people accusing her of revising history. 

President Trump slammed Tlaib in a tweet saying the congresswoman "obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people," adding, "Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?"

Philip Klein challenged her claim that Palestinians sacrificed their homeland to give Jews a safe place after the Holocaust.

"Tlaib's claims that her Arab ancestors provided a 'safe haven' to Jews after the Holocaust ignores the Jewish presence in the region and efforts to establish a Jewish state that predated the Holocaust, ignores that her ancestors allied with Hitler at the time of the Holocaust, and ignores decades of violence and terrorism directed at Israel both before, during, and after the Holocaust," he wrote in The Washington Examiner.

Palestinian leaders allied themselves with the Nazis during the Holocaust before Israel was re-established in 1948.

By that time, Jews had already been returning to the land of Israel from Middle Eastern nations where they were subjugated as second class citizens. 

Jerusalem's Grand Mufti at the time, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, was opposed to "further immigration of Jews to Palestine and Jewish national aspirations in Palestine," according to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Al-Husayni publicly met with Adolf Hitler and "collaborated with the German and Italian governments by broadcasting pro-Axis, anti-British and anti-Jewish propaganda."

Palestinian leaders also rejected several attempts at creating a state for Jews and a state for Palestinians in the Holy Land before World War II because they did not want a sovereign Jewish presence in the Middle East. 

When Israel declared its independence in 1948, it offered equal rights to Jews and Arabs. Palestinians rejected this and launched an unsuccessful war against the Jewish state. 

Imam Mohamad Tawhidi, known as the "Imam of Peace," also called out the freshman Democratic congresswoman for her claims. 

"You mean my ancestors came and converted yours into Islam by the sword (from Judaism/Christianity) and now you think that by changing your beliefs you can also change Jerusalem's Jewish identity," Tawhidi tweeted. "Nice try. You're the guest here, not the Jewish people."

Last week, Jewish Insider reported that Tlaib is planning a congressional trip to the West Bank this August. 

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