Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is creating fresh controversy in her second week in the House of Representatives, but this time it's over a shocking, anti-Semitic slur leveled at her Congressional colleagues for their support of a bill which would allow local, state, and federal agencies to avoid doing business with entities that support the anti-Israel Boycott-Divestment-Sanction (or BDS) movement.
Phil Klein in the Washington Examiner reports that Tlaib "charged that supporters [of the anti-BDS] bill" were torn by their "dual loyalty" to both Israel and the United States, and claimed that the bill's supporters "forgot what country they represent."
They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away. https://t.co/KkmqjR58ZM— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 7, 2019
The "dual loyalty" smear is a typical — if horrifying — anti-Semitic charge, a fact Tlaib is no doubt aware of.
"The idea of Jews as having divided loyalty, and of using their influence to convince others to act against the interests and principles of their own country, is an age-old anti-Semitic trope," Klein contends.
As Klein points out, Tlaib is a vocal supporter of the BDS movement, which proponents claim is merely a movement against "Zionism," but is in reality a profound attack on Israel and its right to exist.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also lashed out at Tlaib for her comments, outlining the problems of the BDS movement — and Tlaib's interpretation of the boundaries of Constitutional rights — on social media.
This “dual loyalty” canard is a typical anti-Semitic line#BDS isn’t about freedom & equality, it’s about destroying #Israel— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 7, 2019
And if boycotting #Israel is constitutionally protected, then boycotting companies that boycott #Israel is also constitutionally protected https://t.co/6yBM0bQB5L
Others pointed out the irony of Tlaib, who identifies as a "voice for Palestinians" in Congress, criticizing her colleagues for considering the needs of a foreign power.
You have some very interesting priorities for someone to accuse other people of representing a foreign government. pic.twitter.com/LWJlgS21LH— Ashley Rae Goldenberg (@Communism_Kills) January 7, 2019
Perhaps more shocking than Tlaib's isolated comments is that Senate Democrats seem preoccupied with actually debating the pros and cons of the BDS movement, as if it merited real consideration, as part of their official committee analysis of a package of Middle Eastern policy bills headed to the Senate floor.
Tlaib was responding to a tweet from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is campaigning to table the anti-BDS bill until after the shutdown. Sanders, of course, avoided Tlaib's outright anti-Semitism by suggesting the anti-BDS bill hampered Constitutionally-protected political activity, even though the Constitution does not, in fact, protect practices that are at their core openly discriminatory.
It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity. Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don’t reopen the government. Let's get our priorities right. https://t.co/rHvpBHtHI5— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 6, 2019
Other Democratic senators, including Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), tried to keep the anti-BDS bill off the floor by suggesting that Democrats should not consider a single bill on any issue besides the federal budget until the ongoing government shutdown is resolved.
But again, Senator Marco Rubio exposed the Democrats' reported dirty laundry: it seems they're less interested in making the federal budget a priority than they are in keeping a nasty inter-party battle out of the public eye.
The shutdown is not the reason Senate Democrats don’t want to move to Middle East Security Bill.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 7, 2019
A huge argument broke out at Senate Dem meeting last week over BDS. A significant # of Senate Democrats now support #BDS & Dem leaders want to avoid a floor vote that reveals that.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib may not be the only openly anti-Israel member of the Democratic caucus.