Rashida Tlaib’s Twisting of Jewish, and Palestinian, History

When Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib stated that she often gets “a calming feeling” when she thinks about the Holocaust, she made it perfectly clear that she is calmed not by the deaths of six million Jews but by the thought that her Palestinian ancestors “lost their land, . . . their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways [sic], . . . to create a safe haven for Jews.” Liel Leibovitz, rather than attempting to unpack the perverse logic of Tlaib’s words, simply notes some relevant historical examples. Among them is the case of the Polish-born Atara Abramson, who—after surviving Auschwitz, where the rest of her family was killed—came to the Land of Israel and settled in the Kfar Etzion kibbutz in 1946:

On May 12, 1948, two days before Israel’s declaration of independence, an Arab army consisting of Jordanian legionnaires and local Palestinian gunmen attacked Kfar Etzion with armored vehicles and heavy artillery. The Jewish defenders, armed with just a handful of rifles and mortars, did their best to fight back, but by the following day were no longer able to persist. Their leader, Avraham Fishgrund, who escaped Bratislava just a few years before Hitler’s armies marched in, stepped into the open, waving the white flag of surrender. He was shot on the spot by an armed Palestinian.

The rest of the people in Kfar Etzion, numbering 133 men and women, had no choice but to reiterate their surrender and hope for the best. Again, they stepped into the open waving a white flag and declaring their surrender. Again, they were met with gunfire. They rushed to take shelter in the basement of a nearby monastery; gathering outside, local Palestinians tossed grenades into the building and shot at anyone trying to escape. Like most of Kfar Etzion’s residents, Atara Abramson did not survive. She was twenty-one when she died, one of eighteen women who had survived the Holocaust only to be slaughtered by Palestinians that day. . . .

There were 433 more Holocaust survivors killed by Palestinians and Jordanians violently opposing the creation of a “safe haven” for Jews in the what had historically and spiritually been their homeland. To attempt and rewrite their well-documented experiences is . . . an unforgivable and deeply anti-Semitic act.

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More about: Holocaust, Israeli history, Israeli War of Independence, 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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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy