As Rashida Tlaib Brings Anti-Semitism into the Democratic Mainstream, the Media Turn a Blind Eye

Earlier this week, the Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib drew criticism from her fellow Democrat Eliot Engel—chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—for her plans to organize a congressional delegation to the West Bank that would not visit other parts of Israel. As Matthew Continetti explains, this is just one part of Tlaib’s broader anti-Israel agenda, which journalists are all too happy to ignore:

Tlaib is [bringing] anti-Semitic policies and rhetoric into the mainstream—and many news outlets are far too obsessed with the novelty of her identity to care. They suffer from milestone myopia—the inability to see beyond a person’s race, ethnicity, creed, and sex.

Running last August in a competitive primary to replace John Conyers, Tlaib supported a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. She also said she wanted to continue aid to Israel. These positions won her the endorsement of the progressive group J Street, and the donations that often follow its imprimatur. But as soon as she won—by fewer than 1,000 votes—Tlaib [claimed to have] changed her mind. . . . She endorsed the so-called right of return, said she stands “by the rights of people who support” the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, and called for a one-state solution. . . .

The policies she supports would abolish Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. She isn’t talking about overturning the outcome of 1967. She’s talking about overturning [Israel’s founding in] 1948. . . . By January 6, describing senators who support a GOP Senate bill that would combat BDS, Tlaib tweeted, “They forgot what country they represent.” Here was an outright accusation of dual loyalty, an old anti-Semitic trope. And an ironic one, too, considering how Tlaib [literally] wrapped herself in the flag of the Palestinian Authority on the night of her election. . . .

Tlaib’s personal history acts as cover for her fringe politics. Press outlets are so infatuated with the election of two Muslim women to Congress—Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota also backs BDS—that news stories scarcely ever mention their views on the Middle East. Last August, the New York Times published a story by Elizabeth Dias with the headline “For Rashida Tlaib, Palestinian Heritage Infuses a Detroit Sense of Community.” But Dias seemed too dumbfounded by Tlaib’s religion to devote any space to her actual foreign-policy views.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Congress, Democrats, Israel & Zionism, New York Times, Rashida Tlaib

European Aid to the Middle East Is Shaped by a Political Agenda

Feb. 18 2019

The EU’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Unit dispenses millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance to dozens of countries every year. Although it claims to operate on principles of strict neutrality, independent of any political motivation and giving priority to the neediest cases, a look at its activities in the Middle East suggests an entirely different approach, as Hillel Frisch writes:

[T]he Middle East is the overwhelming beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid—nearly 1 billion of just over 1.4 billion euros. . . . The bulk of the funds goes toward meeting the costs of assistance to Syrian refugees, followed by smaller sums to Iraq, Yemen, “Palestine,” and North Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, receives less than one-third of that amount. The problem with such allocations is that the overwhelming majority of people living in dire poverty reside in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bangladesh. . . . The Palestinians, who are richer on average than those living in the poorest states of the world, . . . receive over six euros per capita, while the populations of the poorest states receive less than one-eighth of that amount. . . .

Even less defensible is the EU’s claim to political neutrality. Its favoritism toward the Palestinians on this score is visible as soon as one enters terms into the general search function on the European Commission’s website. Enter “Palestine” and you get 20,737 results. Enter “Ethiopia” and you get almost the same figure, despite massive differences in population size (Ethiopia’s 100 million versus fewer than 5 million Palestinians), geographic expanse (Ethiopia is 50 times the size of “Palestine”), and degree of sheer suffering. The Syrian crisis, which is said to have led to the loss of a half-million lives, merits not many more site results than “Palestine.”

One of the foci of the website’s reports [on the Palestinians] is the plight of 35,000 Bedouin whom the EU assists, often in clear violation of the law, in Area C—the part of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control. The hundreds of thousands of Bedouin in Sinai, however, the plight of whom is readily acknowledged even by Egyptian officials, gets no mention, even though Egypt is a recipient of EU aid. . . .

Clearly, the EU’s approach to aid allocation has nothing to do with impartiality, true social-welfare needs, or humanitarian considerations. [Instead], it favors allocations to Syrian refugees above Yemeni refugees because of the higher probability that Syrian refugees will find their way to Europe. . . . The recipients of European largesse who are next in line [to Syrians], in relative terms, are the Palestinians. [This particular policy] can be attributed primarily to the EU’s hostility toward Israel, its rightful historical claims, and its security needs.

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More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians