Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank argued Monday that a recent display of “bigotry” from Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., came out of the “MAGA handbook.”
“It’s a classic Trump move: Blame a minority group for a sinister conspiracy, then deny responsibility when your supporters act on your baseless claim,” Milbank began his piece. “So why is Tlaib now using the Trump playbook against others?”
Milbank was referring to comments Tlaib made earlier this month that Anti-Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt called “anti-Semitic dog whistling.”
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“We also need to recognize – and this is for me as a Palestinian American – we also need to recognize as I think about my family and Palestine that continue to live under military occupation and how that really interacts with this beautiful Black city that I grew up in,” Tlaib said, referring to Detroit while speaking at the 2021 Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) National Convention. “You know, I always tell people cutting people off from water is violence from Gaza to Detroit. And it’s a way to control people, to oppress people. And it’s those structures that we continue to fight against.
“I know that you all understand the structure that we’ve been living under right now is designed by those that exploit the rest of us for their own profit. I don’t care if it’s the issue around global human rights and our fight to free Palestine or to pushing back against those that don’t believe in the minimum wage or those that believe that people have a right to health care and so much more. And I tell people those same people that if you open the curtain and look behind the curtain, it’s the same people that make money and, yes they do, off of racism, off of these broken policies. There is someone there making money and you saw it!”
Tlaib, a fierce opponent of Israel and supporter of the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, was criticized by some for her implication of a Jewish cabal controlling things “behind the curtain.”
Milbank reacted, “Democrats and others on the left should call this what it is: bigotry. It’s grotesque when Trump and his MAGA minions do it, as I’ve chronicled at length; it’s no less ugly when it comes from the left.”
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The Post columnist wrote that Tlaib’s office “had nothing to add to her remarks,” according to a spokesperson. Greenblatt told Milbank such lack of clarification and a refusal to apologize is “a lesson of the Trump era.”
“Her antisemitism is dumb politically,” Milbank wrote. “At a time when views on race fuel partisanship more than any other factor, she’s driving a wedge between Jews (the vast majority of whom are progressive) and others on the left.”
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“But more than dumb, it’s repugnant. Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent and a Muslim, knows what it’s like to be the target of bigotry. Practicing the same against Jews furthers nobody’s cause but Trump’s,” Milbank added.