Rashida Tlaib’s Mistruths Depend on the Myth That Israel Was a Consolation Prize for the Holocaust

In explaining the “calming feeling” produced within her by reflection on the Holocaust, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib invoked the now-common canard that Palestinian Arabs suffered as a result of the annihilation of European Jewry. Had there been no Holocaust, the reasoning goes, Jews would not have been allowed to form a state in their historic homeland. Robert Rozett comments on a crucial aspect of her distortion of history:

Asserting that Israel’s creation was a direct response to the Holocaust overlooks the ancient and ceaseless connection of the Jewish people to Israel, as well as the modern Zionist enterprise that returned an exiled and oppressed people to their ancestral home. It also ignores the existence of a vibrant pre-World War II Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine, whose population was severely circumscribed because of the virulent opposition by local Arabs to the very idea of Jews returning to the Land of Israel.

Throughout Europe following the Nazi rise to power, a great many Zionists were deeply frustrated by the quotas set for aliyah by the British, and they later became victims of the Holocaust, having never had the opportunity to realize their dreams of reaching the Land of Israel. It is impossible even to begin to divine what their contribution could have been to Israel, to the Jewish people, and to the world.

Tlaib’s framing also disregards the British government’s pre-war proposal to partition Mandatory Palestine, which was designed to reconcile the desires of Jews for a Jewish state in their historic home with the desire of Arabs for Palestine to be completely Arab. This plan, which never came to fruition, was painfully accepted by the Jewish leadership and categorically rejected by the Arabs.

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Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

More about: Holocaust, Israeli history, Rashida Tlaib

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy