House Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D-Mich.) remarks that the Holocaust produces a "calming feeling" in her because some of her Palestinian ancestors "lost their lives" to "create a safe haven for Jews" in Israel are deceitful, said the world-renowned Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Tlaib is a "brazen liar," he said, because the Arabs of Israel "brutally opposed" the "influx of Jews fleeing Hitler and in many cases massacred them."
On a related note, the New York Times reported on May 13 that, "Tlaib’s comments made others deeply uneasy because she was wrong on the facts. Far from a safe haven, pre-independence Palestine was wracked by violence, culminating in Israel’s war for independence during which both sides suffered civilian deaths."
In a May 14 tweet, Rabbi Shmuley said, "@RashidaTlaib is a brazen liar. The Arabs of what is today Israel brutally opposed the influx of Jews fleeing Hitler and in many cases massacred them. The Jews did not steal Arab lands. They drained the swa[m]ps and built their cities."
Discussing Israeli-Palestinian issues on the podcast "Skullduggery," on May 11, Tlaib had said, "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."
"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," said the congresswoman.
"I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways," she said. "But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them."
Tlaib's remarks were denounced by President Donald Trump, as well as many prominent Republicans, such as House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wy.).
Tlaib said critics were "twisting & turning" her words to "ignite vile attacks" on her. In a statement, her office said, "Once again, Republican leaders and right-wing extremists are spreading outright lies to incite hate."
In addition to the comments by Rabbi Shmuley, Middle East expert Aaron David Miller told the New York Times, “Palestinians suffered as a consequence of the state of Israel, but the relationship between the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel is highly arguable. Every institution for what would become the state of Israel was in place well before Hitler started killing any Jews.”
"Moreover, Mr. Miller noted, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, had allied himself with Nazis and fiercely opposed the creation of the Jewish state," said The Times. "Of Ms. Tlaib, Mr. Miller said: 'She recognized the horrific nature of the Holocaust. Then she deployed it to make a series of confused, unaware and even ignorant assumptions with respect to what that means for the Palestinians.'"
Another critic of Tlaib, Prof. Benny Morris, one of the leading scholars of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the War of Independence in 1948-1949, told Haaretz, “Rashida Tlaib is either completely ignorant of the history or is a deliberate liar."
"Morris said Tlaib’s ancestors, meaning Palestinians, 'did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Jews at Nazi hands,'" reported Haaretz. "'Rather, the opposite: The Arabs of [British Mandatory] Palestine, during the whole period — and supported by the neighboring Arab states — did all they could to prevent Jews trying to escape Nazi hands from reaching the (relatively safe) shores of Palestine.'”
Morris further said that the leader of the Palestinian Arab nationalist movement, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was in exile in Berlin 1941-45, "called for the massacre of Jews in the Arab world on Nazi radio stations — an anti-Jewish ‘jihad’ — and helped the Nazis recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the SS and Wehrmacht," said Haaretz.