House Democrats supportive of Israel’s government are running a misinformation campaign against one of their own.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Florida Rep. Ted Deutch are just a few of the House Democrats to issue scathing rebukes of Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib — with some even maligning her as “antisemitic” — for remarks they claimed struck at Israel’s right to exist.
The problem is that Tlaib never said anything of the sort.
As The Daily Beast noted in its report on the controversy, Tlaib’s actual remarks, delivered at an online seminar for pro-Palestinian activists, were that “it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government.”
Tlaib’s comments couldn’t have been clearer in condemning Israel’s current government, which is not to be conflated with Israel the state. And her apartheid criticism has been echoed by Israeli lawmakers and Israeli activists and been bolstered by condemnations of the Israeli government from international coalitions such as the United Nations.
And Tlaib, who’s the child of Palestinian immigrants, knows firsthand how oppressive Israel’s regime can be. Back in 2019, Israel’s government barred her and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar — both Muslims — from visiting the country, claiming that their support for boycotts of the Israeli government and pro-Israel businesses was meant to “negate” Israel’s legitimacy and increase unrest.
Even the conservative Jewish organization AIPAC, which ordinarily backs Israel’s government, denounced the ban. (The ban was later dropped, though Tlaib cited Israeli-imposed restrictions on her visit as the reason she didn’t take the trip).
Taking these facts into consideration, it’s all the more troubling to see Democrats trying to score points by demonizing Tlaib for things she never uttered.
“Proud progressives do support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. Suggesting otherwise is shameful and dangerous,” Wasserman-Schultz said on Twitter.
But Tlaib didn’t suggest otherwise.
“I fundamentally reject the notion that one cannot support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and be a progressive,” Nadler said in another tweet misinforming the public about what Tlaib actually said.
Nadler went on to say he “would happily put my progressive record and credentials up against anyone’s,” though considering his record involves demonizing one of the few Muslim members of Congress over insufficient loyalty to Israel, he probably shouldn’t be so arrogant.
And Deutch claimed in a tweet that there are, in fact, many progressives “whose support of democratic Israel is fundamentally a part of their progressive values.” He went on to say: “We will not be silenced.”
Tlaib’s remarks aren’t in contrast with any of that, and it’s dubious to suggest she was attempting to “silence” by sharing criticism that — I repeat — has been uttered across the world.
Democrats do themselves a disservice by engaging in such misinformation, particularly at a time when they’re accusing Republicans — rightly — of spreading vitriolic lies to help themselves politically.
Nadler, Wasserman, Deutch and the like are using that same tactic against one of their own. And they don’t seem to see — or care about — the hypocrisy.