Pelosi asked for an apology yesterday after Trump came down hard on Tlaib. Now she has one.
The silver lining of Tlaib’s “safe haven” comments is that they’ve inspired a burst of interesting writing about the early history of Israel and the Arab world’s best efforts to snuff it out. Cheney herself refers at one point to a column today in the New York Post by Lahav Harkov accusing Tlaib not of Holocaust denial but “Holocaust distortion,” which “involves taking undue credit for rescuing Jews, claims often made by nations that played a role in the genocide of the Jewish people.” That does pretty ably describe her “safe haven” nonsense. Historian Benny Morris has a worthwhile brief history at the Atlantic too in which he addresses Tlaib’s attempt to equate the Palestinian effort for statehood with the civil-rights struggle in the United States: “[I]f the Palestinian Arabs ultimately triumph,” he warns, “there is no reason to believe that the equality and justice they would mete out to the minorities they would govern would be any different from that meted out to minorities governed by the neighboring Arab Muslim states.”
If you only have time for one, though, I recommend this piece at Tablet by Liel Leibovitz, which examines in granular detail the sort of “safe haven” Jewish arrivals to the Holy Land enjoyed.
Atara Abramson was born in Poland on December 28, 1926. She was just a teenager when she was deported with her family to Auschwitz, and was the only one to survive. In 1946, she joined a religious Zionist youth movement and boarded a boat headed for Eretz Yisrael. The boat was intercepted by the British army, and Abramson was sent to a camp in Cypress for six months before finally making it to her destination. Along with several other Holocaust survivors, she settled in Kfar Etzion, a religious kibbutz in the Judean hills established in 1927.
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.
Abramson was one of 436 Holocaust survivors killed during the Arab war to crush Israel after its independence, per Leibovitz. In response to all of this criticism, you can guess the progressive reply:
Give it up, we all know you never met a Muslim you didn’t want to vilify!
Your deep seeded hate and Islamophobia might be a tool to rally your base, but won’t get rid your colleagues. You just have to deal 💁🏽♀️ https://t.co/hMvvxLnmp5
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 13, 2019
Cheney will be accused of “piling on” poor defenseless Rashida Tlaib or whatever but what makes these skirmishes over her and Ilhan Omar’s pensees on Israel notable is that the two aren’t defenseless. Progressives won the civil war within the Democratic caucus after Omar’s “dual loyalty” comments; the caucus now stands behind its left-most thinkers on the Middle East, with even Nancy Pelosi required to barf up an occasional apologia for Tlaib and Omar in the name of Democratic solidarity. At best, the left is willing to tolerate revisionist history about the Palestinians and loyalty smears of supporters of the Jewish state in the name of steering U.S. foreign policy to a more confrontational posture towards Israel. At worst, the smears and revisionism are a feature, not a bug, something that can be used to prosecute the pro-Palestinian case more effectively here at home. It is … quite a scene in 2019 for a top Republican to be accusing the Democratic caucus of anti-semitism and for a prominent Democrat to be accusing her in turn of vilifying every Muslim she meets, but this is the future of partisanship on the Middle East. At least after the old guard, starting with Pelosi, are gone.