In January 2020, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mi) retweeted an unverified tweet by professional agitator and former Palestinian Authority diplomat Hanan Ashrawi, in which she claimed that Jews had kidnapped and killed a Palestinian boy by throwing him into a pond where he drowned. As it turns out, the boy’s death was accidental and Israeli rescue teams resorted to superhuman efforts to retrieve the boy from the pond’s cold, murky waters and revive him.
Ashrawi deleted her tweet and surprisingly apologized for citing unverified sources. Tlaib on the other hand deleted the tweet but without apology. She was quick to accuse the Jews of committing barbaric acts but offered no contrition when those accusations proved unfounded. Even the ADL’s left-leaning head, Jonathan Greenblatt, pointed out that her lie was an “example of how a blood libel works in 2020; retweets [sic] a vicious lie steeped in centuries-old accusations used to demonize Jews, then says nothing when it’s disproven. An apology is overdue.” Of course, none was forthcoming.
It appears that Tlaib did not learn her lesson concerning her propensity to engage in hasty conclusions and antisemitic blood libels. On May 11, Israeli forces carrying out a counterterror operation in the Jenin vicinity encountered violent resistance from Palestinian gunman belonging to various terror entities. They came under heavy M-16 automatic fire. This is the weapon of choice for these gunmen, though some also carry AK-47 assault rifles and Carlo-type submachine guns.
During the exchange of fire between the gunmen and the IDF, a veteran Al-Jazeera reporter, Shireen Abu Akleh, was killed. She was wearing a helmet and a bullet-proof vest but was in close proximity to the fighting.
Without waiting for a forensic conclusion, Tlaib instantly blamed Israel tweeting, “When will the world and those who stand by Apartheid Israel that continues to murder, torture and commit war crimes finally say: Enough? Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered by a government that receives unconditional funding by our country with zero accountability.” Her partner in crime, Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) echoed Tlaib’s sentiment. Omar herself has previously dabbled in antisemitic canards, so her swift agreement with the anti-Israel echo chamber came as no surprise.
The circumstances of Abu Akleh’s death are as yet unclear. All we know is that she was killed with a 5.56mm bullet of the type used by both the IDF and Jenin gunmen. The body was quickly spirited out of Jenin so Israeli forensic experts could not view the body or perform a joint autopsy with their Palestinian counterparts. However, Palestinian Forensic Medicine Institute Director Dr. Rayyan Al Ali stated that “it cannot be determined whether [Shireen Abu Akleh] was killed by Israeli fire or by a Palestinian bullet.”
Israel had requested a joint investigation by Israeli and Palestinian experts, but this request was summarily dismissed by the PA’s authoritarian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The Israelis also asked the Palestinian side for the bullet for a ballistics examination, but this request was also rebuffed.
It is readily apparent that the PA is attempting to obfuscate the truth, and for good reason. There is ample evidence suggesting that Abu Akleh was killed by errant Palestinian fire. Numerous videos emerging following Abu Akleh’s death show Palestinian gunmen firing their M-16s blindly and wildly without regard for those around them. In one such video, a gunmen can be seen recklessly firing his M-16 down an alley with his arms extended forward while his body remains hidden behind a wall. Following his burst of fire, another person can be heard excitedly yelling in Arabic, “They’ve hit one. They’ve hit a soldier. He’s laying on the ground.” No IDF troops were hit during that encounter leading to the logical conclusion that the person yelling was either lying or referring to someone other than an IDF soldier being hit.
But there are two more noteworthy points surrounding the shooting death of Abu Akleh beyond the PA’s opaqueness and efforts to thwart a proper investigation. The first centers on Abu Akleh’s employer, Al-Jazeera, and the second concerns the reasons for why the IDF was operating in Jenin in the first place.
Al-Jazeera is not a legitimate media outlet. It is an insidious propaganda outlet shilling for the Qatari government. The Al-Jazeera Media Network receives its funding from the government of Qatar and will only show you what the government of Qatar wants you to see. It is akin to what Pravda was during the Soviet era or what Press TV is in today’s mullah entity of Iran. Moreover, Al-Jazeera has a long, sordid history of antisemitism, espousing Holocaust denial among other vile programing. Its staffers celebrated the birthday of Samir Kuntar, who crushed the skull of a four-year-old Israeli toddler with his rifle stock after shooting her father at close range.
When reviewing the death of Abu-Akleh, we also need to understand and appreciate why Israeli forces were operating in Jenin to begin with. Since March, sixteen Israeli citizens and two Ukrainian foreign workers were murdered in terrorist attacks. Four were murdered in Beersheba, two in Hadera, five in Bnei Brak, three in Tel Aviv, one in Ariel and three in Elad. Many of these terrorists hailed from Jenin or its environs and there were credible intelligence reports that other attacks were in the pipeline and being planned in Jenin. The IDF had no choice but to preemptively act against those planning to harm Israeli citizens.
To my knowledge, Tlaib did not express an ounce of sorrow for those 18 civilians and police officers murdered by Islamist terrorists. Nor has she acknowledged the fact that Jenin has become a terrorist hub. During the Oslo War (2000-2004), Jenin was dryly dubbed the suicide bombing capital of the West Bank. It appears that Jenin has once again gained the dubious distinction of being a terror capital.
Tlaib’s reckless and malevolent tweets, where she instinctively blames Jews for murder and other capital crimes belies a sinister intent. Even more troubling is that Tlaib is not just some foul-mouthed B-list actor or washed-out guitar player, she is a member of the U.S. legislative branch, and her words carry weight. Yet she continues to spew blood libels with near impunity and the deafening silence from her own party should sound alarm bells.