Rashida Tlaib Gets Called Out for 'Insulting' Hanukkah Message


Rep. Rashida Tlaib probably isn’t the first person you would think of to be putting out a Hanukkah message.

There’s a good reason for that, as she showed when she decided to record one for a left-wing Jewish organization.

Tlaib, of course, is a Michigan Democrat best known as a member of “the squad.” Like other members of that august group, she’s known for her enthusiastic support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. She was denied entry into Israel earlier this year on a political trip, although the Israeli government gave the Palestinian-American Tlaib a humanitarian visa to visit family. (She decided not to avail herself of it.)

“Happy early Hanukkah to all of you,” she said in a video message posted by activist group If Not Now last week.

“Your 2020 platform calling for every public official to commit to defunding the occupation in Falestine and fighting anti-Semitism and white nationalism is one that I can support very strongly. Please consider me as your partner here in the United States Congress, as well as back home in the 13th District.”

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It’s interesting that, of all things, Tlaib would choose a holiday that’s pretty much about Jewish nationalism as the time for this. Then I’m going to guess this isn’t one of the holidays she sets aside much time for, which is why the most detailed greeting she seemed to give for the celebration was for a group that explicitly agreed with her views on the Holy Land.

The Israel Advocacy Movement, a Jewish group of a somewhat different bent than If Not Now, had a rejoinder to Tlaib’s message:

“This is gross,” a member of the Israel Advocacy Movement said. “Why can’t she just wish us Happy Hanukkah? Would she say ‘Happy Ramadan to all the Muslims fighting the Islamic occupation of Mecca’ or ‘Happy Christmas to all the Catholics fighting the Catholic occupation of the Vatican?’ No. She’d just say Happy Ramadan or Happy Christmas. Yet here she is hijacking a Jewish festival to attack Jews.

“And here’s the irony of it all: Hanukkah actually celebrates Jews fighting off a foreign army that was occupying Judea. Where’s Judea, you might ask? Well, it made up most of the West Bank and when the Romans conquered Judea from the Jews they renamed it to erase its Jewish roots. Places like Shechem became Neapolis and the wider region, including Judea, became Syria Palestina.

“Which leads us back to Rashida,” he continued. “It’s most likely Rashida belongs to the Harb tribe from Arabia, hence her maiden name, ‘Harbi.’ When the Islamic armies came from Arabia and conquered Israel they adopted the Roman names. Neapolis became Nablus. Syria Palestina became Falestine.

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Do you think that Rashida Tlaib is an anti-Semite?

“Did you catch that?” he said. “Rashida’s celebrating Jewish independence in Judea by describing the Jews that live there as occupiers.

“If she finds Jews living in the West Bank so offensive, it’s probably best to skip the Hanukkah message,” he concluded.

As a succinct, brutal explanation of just how wrong and misguided Tlaib’s message for the festival of lights was, I don’t think you can beat that, especially given the ownage-to-word-economy ratio. However, it’s still worth noting how unpopular Tlaib’s message was on social media:

It probably didn’t help matters that she pulled this stunt on the same week on which she was named one of the top 10 proponents of anti-Semitism in 2019 — a year in which there wasn’t a paucity of it — by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Tlaib shared the fifth spot with another freshman “squad” member — no points for guessing which one — but finished behind individuals like British politician Jeremy Corbyn and the anti-Semitic terrorists who perpetrated attacks on Jewish people in places like Jersey City, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

At the very least, this was probably one Tlaib should have sat out. If so, she shouldn’t have been willing to wish Jews against Jewish occupation a happy Hanukkah on a holiday that’s about Jewish occupation.

Thankfully, there was always Twitter to call her out.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture