An open letter to Rashida Tlaib
An open letter to Rashida Tlaib

Dear Rashida,

As an American Jew now living in Israel, I feel compelled to write you concerning the comments you made about the Holocaust and about your Palestinian Arab ancestors giving up their land for survivors. Your remarks have caused an uproar in the Jewish community and among some non-Jewish communities as well. 

Unlike many others, I am not bothered that somehow you find the Holocaust calming.  After all, people are all different and as the saying goes, “There’s no accounting for taste.” There are even those who seek out horror films as entertainment. If you find Holocaust stories calming, so be it.

I actually envy you. Here in Israel, Yom Hashoah is the day the Holocaust is commemorated. Survivors and children of survivors tell their stories on TV, the radio, public events, at synagogue services and other venues. By the end of this day, I am shattered, despondent, depressed, agitated, anything but calm. 

Then there were your comments about your benevolent ancestors, especially your grandmother from the 'West Bank' who gave lands for Holocaust survivors.  A noble, self sacrificing gesture, so very admirable and so very untrue. 

Well documented history teaches us that the Arabs put enormous pressure on the British during their mandate in Palestine to halt Jewish immigration and increase Arab immigration.  The British were very compliant. I suggest you read a book called “From Time Immemorial,” by Joan Peters. You will find all the facts and figures regarding numbers of Arabs admitted and numbers of Jews excluded from Palestine as early as the thirties.  In fact, Britain issued a so called White Paper in 1937, putting severe limitations on Jewish immigration. 

What a blessing it would have been had Britain allowed Palestine to become a haven for Jews seeking to escape Europe. Instead, Jews were trapped in Europe with very few options for obtaining entrance visas. Ships carrying escaping Jews  sunk or returned to their port of origin. How in the world did your ancestors succeed in giving up land for these people who could not even reach the shores of Palestine?

Another baffling point i you mentioned  is of your ancestors and grandmother giving  up land in the 'West Bank' for survivors. World War Two ended in 1945 and the genocide against the Jews ended as well. What became of the survivors? They wound up in DP camps. Those attempting to enter Palestine were intercepted by the British and sent to Cyprus. Yes there were those who were brought into Palestine clandestinely, they were small in number and generally settled on Kibbutzim.  There is no record of Arabs of the 'West Bank' or anywhere else in Palestine helping these individuals. In fact, they tried to murder as many as they could, perpetrating acts of terror that had begun against Jews returning to Israel decades before WWII and never stopped .

The Jews of Palestine successfully rebelled  against the British and in 1948, Israel agreed to a UN partition plan and was declared an independent state. The partition plan sliced off the 'West Bank' and Jerusalem from the newly declared State of Israel.  How in the world could your ancestors and grandmother possibly help Jewish survivors settle in the 'West Bank' when it was then totally JUDENREIN, free of Jews? 

The Arabs refused to accept the existence of the State of Israel. They went to war and lost in 1948, 1956 and again in 1967, when they not only lost the war but Jerusalem and the 'West Bank' fell to Israel control. 

Rashida, are you suggesting that twenty two years after the end of World War Two, your ancestors resettled Jewish survivors in the West 'Bank'? By then, survivors residing in Israel, had rebuilt their lives. They married, raised children, were gainfully employed and many achieved success in business, the arts and sciences. 

Here is what I find most troubling.  Among Arabs, an imaginary narrative exists of European Jews who survived the war, coming to Palestine, settling on Arab lands and out of sympathy for their plight, the world tolerated this behavior at the expense of the Arabs. Your distortion of the historical facts of events, plays into this narrative. 

Not many people know the historical truth and blindly accept your statements. Goebbels is believed to have said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will come to believe it.” What you have done is to have legitimized a false narrative, a perfect propaganda piece. In time, people will view \West Bank\ Arabs as righteous  and Holocaust survivors as exploiters; stealing land from the kindly Arabs who came to their assistance. 

Shame on you Rashida Tlaib,  for defaming the Holocaust, the survivors and by extension, bringing shame upon the venerable House of Representatives of the United States of America.