Rashida Tlaib
Rashida TlaibReuters

Isn’t it remarkable how some anti-Israel lies seem to be repeated again and again, and even published in respected newspapers, no matter how many times they have been exposed as false?

In a major New York Times feature this week, U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) once again falsely promoted the claim that her grandmother, Mrs. Muftia Tlaib, is persecuted by Israel—when, in reality, Grandma lives under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel.

Yet Tlaib keeps repeating the lie, and New York Times reporter Rozina Ali either didn’t bother, or didn’t want to, do the elementary fact-checking on Tlaib’s claims.

The narrative of the ‘mistreated grandmother’ —sure to elicit readers’ sympathy— was a major part of the March 3 article. It repeatedly referred to Israel’s supposedly harsh “occupation of the West Bank,” followed by mentions of the fact that Tlaib’s grandmother, Mrs. Muftia Tlaib, “is living in the West Bank.”

The clear implication, again and again, was the Grandma lives under Israeli rule. To strengthen that oppression, the article mentioned that Some years ago, Tlaib “visited the West Bank and saw for herself the walls and checkpoints.”

Of course, Israel’s checkpoints are no more oppressive than the checkpoints that one finds at every airport in the United States, and they serve exactly the same purpose—to catch terrorists. But Congresswoman Tlaib, and her sympathetic Times interviewer, seemed determined to create the impression that cruel Israel is mistreating poor grandma.

The notion that Grandma Tlaib is oppressed by Israel is a lie.

She resides in the Palestinian Arab village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa. Nothing in the article gave readers even the slightest clue that the Israeli occupation of that village ended in 1995. For the past 24 years, Beit Ur al-Fauqa has been governed by the Palestinian Authority.

In the autumn of 1995, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed an agreement with then-PA chairman Yasir Arafat, known as the Oslo II Accord. It provided for the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the territories where 98% of the Palestinian Arabs reside, including Beit Ur al-Fauqa. The Israelis withdrew. The occupation ended.

Arafat agreed that a portion of the non-residential agricultural land which Beit Ur al-Fauqa claims belongs to it would be assigned to the area under Israeli security control. Prime Minister Rabin requested this arrangement because that area is dangerously close to the Israeli towns of Beit Horon and Givat Ze’ev, and Route 443, a highway where Israeli automobiles are often subjected to Arab terrorist attacks. But the residential portion of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, as well as the rest of the adjacent agricultural land, have been under the rule of the PA for more than two decades now.

Isn’t it remarkable how the Times article in effect rewrote history? No Oslo accords, no Israeli withdrawals, no Palestinian Authority control over 98% of the Palestinian Arabs. None of that ever happened, to judge by the Times and Congresswoman Tlaib.

Ironically, the only oppression Grandma Muftia Tlaib experiences is at the hand of her fellow Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian Authority refuses to permit Grandma Tlaib and her fellow-residents to vote for their town’s leaders. Beit Ur al-Fauqa has been governed since early 1996 by a group of eleven administrators appointed by the PA. So much for Palestinian democracy.

In addition, Grandma and her neighbors, like all of the Palestinian Arabs who live under PA rule, have not been allowed to vote for their national leadership, either. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is now serving the 17th year of his four year-term. He has accomplished this feat by simply never holding elections for his office.

Ever wonder why Muftia Tlaib’s Granddaughter-the-Congresswoman never acknowledges the PA’s oppression? The answer is obvious: Rashida Tlaib wants to smear Israel. And she is willing to stoop as low as necessary to accomplish that goal—even if it means both lying about her own grandmother and using Grandma as a political weapon. That’s really about as low as you can get. She ought to try her hand at a limbo dance.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” has just been published.