Rashida Tlaib (D-Ramallah) likes to invoke the story of her Palestinian grandmother, who lives on the West Bank, where Tlaib insists she is being oppressed by her Israeli overlords. But it turns out her grandmother’s “oppression” — if indeed she is oppressed — is the result not of anything the Israelis do, but of what the Palestinian Authority does, for it is the PA that rules the village where her grandmother lives. More on the true travails of her grandmother, that have nothing to do with Israel, can be found here: “Rashida Tlaib plays the grandma card yet again – opinion,” by Stephen M. Flatow, Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2023:
When all else fails, play the grandma card.
That’s the playbook used by United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) – when confronted by a difficult or embarrassing question, she trots out her grandmother, Mrs. Muftieh Tlaib, as a supposed victim of Israeli persecution. There’s just one problem: Grandma lives under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel….
At one point in the conversation, a student asked Tlaib, “Is anti-Zionism antisemitism?” That’s an interesting question, of course, but perhaps it should have been preceded by a question along the lines of, “Why did you accuse Jewish and other pro-Israel members of Congress of being secretly loyal to Israel?”
It happened on January 7, 2019. Jewish members of Congress, together with other congressional friends of Israel, had been promoting anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement legislation. Tlaib, a fervent supporter of BDS, tweeted, “They forgot what country they represent.”
Her meaning was obvious. Executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, called Tlaib’s statement antisemitic. Even the left-leaning head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, responded that Tlaib’s remark “could be interpreted as offensively insinuating dual loyalty – a trope with a long, troubling history.”
“Could be interpreted as offensively insinuating dual loyalty”? There’s no “could be” about it. Tlaib was flat-out saying that the supporters of Israel in Congress “forgot what country they represent” and instead of the US, they are representing Israel.
The official definition of antisemitism used by the US State Department (and 31 other countries) says that “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” is an example of antisemitism.
Isn’t that exactly what Rashida Tlaib has done – accuse Jewish members of Congress of being more loyal to Israel than to the United States? What else could her charge that they “forgot what country they represent” conceivably mean?
Tlaib’s grandmother lives in a village governed by the PA.
If Tlaib’s grandmother lives under an oppressive Israeli government, one wonders why her politically powerful granddaughter doesn’t help her move to the United States? Or is that grandmother of more use staying right where she is, to be used as a rhetorical prop in Tlaib’s anti-Israel campaign?
I [Stephen Flatow] guess the students on the Zoom call with Tlaib hadn’t done their homework; maybe they didn’t know about her dual loyalty statement. To judge by the JTA’s account, nobody on the call even mentioned it. So Tlaib was able to get away with changing the subject to Grandma. It’s a tactic she has used many times before.
According to the JTA, Tlaib replied to the question about antisemitism by bringing up “her grandmother, Muftieh, whom she refers to with the Arabic term “Sity” and whom she has portrayed as the face of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.” Tlaib said, “My grandmother, literally solely based on the fact that she was born Palestinian, she just doesn’t have equality.”
The notion that Grandma Tlaib is oppressed by Israel is a lie.
She resides in the Palestinian Arab village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa. The Israeli occupation of that village ended in 1995. For the past 28 years, Beit Ur al-Fauqa has been governed by the Palestinian Authority….
Rashida Tlaib’s beloved “Sity” has not been suffering, as Tlaib insists she has, under Israeli rule; Tlaib knows perfectly well that she is living in a village that has been governed by the Palestinian Authority for the past 28 years. If she is oppressed, it’s not by Israel, but by the colossally corrupt and despotic PA. But how many of Tlaib’s fellow Congressmen, or who follow her on social media, are aware of this? If Tlaib insists that her grandmother is suffering under Israeli oppression, who will take the time to find out where her grandmother lives and show Tlaib up as the liar she is?
In the autumn of 1995, then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin signed an agreement with then-PA chairman Yasser Arafat, known as the Oslo II Accord. It provided for the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the territories where 98% of the Palestinian Arabs reside, including Beit Ur al-Fauqa. The Israelis withdrew. The occupation ended.
The only oppression experienced by Grandma Muftia “Sity” Tlaib is at the hands of her fellow Palestinian Arabs. Since 1996, Beit Ur al-Fauqa has been governed by 11 administrators appointed by the PA. And Grandma hasn’t been allowed to vote for the head of the Palestinian Authority since 2005; Mahmoud Abbas is now serving the 19th year of his four-year term. So much for Palestinian democracy.
Tlaib has devoted much of her life to smearing Israel. And she is willing to stoop as low as necessary to accomplish that goal even if it means both lying about her own grandmother and using Grandma as a political weapon. That’s really about as low as you can get. Maybe the students will ask her about that in a follow-up call someday.
Tlaib’s “my beloved grandmother — ‘Sity’ — is oppressed by Israel” has become an essential part of her shtick. But someone in Congress should stand up and address her thus: “You claim that your grandmother is oppressed. And so she well may be, but not by Israel. She lives in a village, Beit Ur al-Fauqa, that for the past 28 years has been under the sole rule of the Palestinian Authority. She has no political rights, because the PA’s leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, has refused to hold an election since 2005. It is no wonder that 80% of the Palestinians, in the most recent opinion poll, want Abbas to resign. If you, Congresswoman Tlaib, want to make your grandmother’s life easier, you should be denouncing her true oppressor, the PA, and calling for an end to American financing of the brutal and colossally corrupt dictatorship that is the PA, which has made your grandmother’s life so difficult.