Rashida Tlaib Unapologetically Revives a Medieval Anti-Semitic Libel

It’s a story all too familiar from European history, from 12th-century England to 20th-century Russia: a non-Jewish child goes missing or is found dead, and what is in fact a tragic accident is blamed on the Jews. Mob violence ensues. A week ago, this familiar pattern repeated itself when an eight-year-old Arab boy went missing in Jerusalem. The next day he was found dead, apparently having drowned in a pond. But by that time, rumors had spread—with help from Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib—that Jews had kidnapped and murdered him. Aaron Kliegman writes:

Acting on this unsubstantiated claim, Palestinians searching for the boy marched toward a nearby Jewish neighborhood, believing its residents had kidnapped him. Demonstrators threw rocks at police, who blocked the mob from entering the neighborhood. Ultimately, twelve people were injured and three protesters arrested.

The rumors of kidnap and murder spread on social media. A Twitter account named “Real Seif Bitar” tweeted that Abu Ramila was “kidnapped and executed” by a “herd of violent Israeli settlers,” who assaulted him and threw his body in a well. The Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi retweeted these allegations. . . . And then, Rashida Tlaib retweeted Ashrawi, sharing the vicious lies with her nearly one million followers.

Once authorities concluded the boy had likely slipped and drowned, . . . Tlaib deleted her retweet. But she never apologized, and despite her self-serving acknowledgement a few days later, her followers may still think Jews murdered Abu Ramila.

Whether it’s Israelis supposedly wantonly murdering Palestinian children or medieval Jews drinking the blood of Christian children—the effect of these libels is the same: poisoning public opinion against the Jewish people and stoking the oldest hatred. And while Tlaib may believe she is speaking truth to power when she makes false claims about Israel and Jews, responsible people in her party must hold her accountable for spreading misinformation and propping up illegitimate claims without scrutiny.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Blood libel, Israeli Arabs, Rashida Tlaib, Social media

Gaza’s Quiet Dissenters

Last year, the Dubai-based television channel Al-Arabiya, the Times of Israel, and several other media organizations worked together to conduct numerous interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip, taking great pains to protect their identities. The result is a video series titled Whispers in Gaza, which presents a picture of life under Hamas’s tyranny unlike anything that can be found in the press. Jeff Jacoby writes:

Through official intimidation or social pressure, Gazans may face intense pressure to show support for Hamas and its murderous policies. So when Hamas organizes gaudy street revels to celebrate a terrorist attack—like the fireworks and sweets it arranged after a gunman murdered seven Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue Friday night—it can be a challenge to remember that there are many Palestinians who don’t rejoice at the murder of innocent Jews.

In one [interview], “Fatima” describes the persecution endured by her brother, a humble vegetable seller, after he refused to pay protection money to Hamas. The police arrested him on a trumped-up drug charge and locked him in prison. “They beat him repeatedly to make him confess to things he had nothing to do with,” she says. Then they threatened to kill him. Eventually he fled the country, leaving behind a family devastated by his absence.

For those of us who detest Hamas no less than for those who defend it, it is powerful to hear the voices of Palestinians like “Layla,” who is sickened by the constant exaltation of war and “resistance” in the Palestinian media. “If you’re a Gazan citizen who opposes war and says, ‘I don’t want war,’ you’re branded a traitor,” she tells her interviewer. “It’s forbidden to say you don’t want war.” So people keep quiet, she explains, for fear of being tarred as disloyal.

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Read more at Boston Globe

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Palestinian dissidents, Palestinian public opinion