It appears that Rep. Rashida Tlaib is going to get a pass over her public support for the BDS movement. Not only did she recently vote against a House Resolution condemning it but in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union program she said that she sees it as a means of protesting what she called Israel’s “racist policies.”
In fact, she did not only vote against the anti-BDS resolution. In the course of a debate she noted that her support of BDS was akin to “Americans [who] boycotted Nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment and genocide of Jewish people….” She went on to say that many in Congress boycotted South African goods in the fight against apartheid.
This was also her answer to the charge that the BDS movement was anti-Semitic. The Israeli government just happens to be largely made up of Jews, so BDS is not directed at those individuals because they were Jewish. To the question of why the BDS movement was directed exclusively against the only state made up mostly of Jews when there are countless other, indisputably far more appropriate target countries around the world, she answered, rather lamely, that if there were other, similar BDS campaigns mounted against other countries she would support those too. Indeed, she demurred when asked why she didn’t initiate any additional BDS campaigns.
Despite the definitive anti-BDS vote in the House – the resolution passed by 398 to 17 – the story did not attract much attention in the media, except in the New York Times which published a rather lengthy article pursuing the question “Is BDS Anti-Semitic.” It is not the point, the article argues, that most Israelis are Jewish. It is the stated intent to address a bad policy that counts.
This got us to thinking about the reaction to President Trump’s rebukes of Congressman Elijah Cummings and the deplorable state of parts of his congressional district [See first editorial, above] and the so-called “Squad.” Although Trump’s focus was on objective facts and never mentioned Cummings’s race, or the racial make-up of his district, he was nonetheless pilloried by most Democrats, particularly those comprising its leftist-progressive amen corner, as being motivated by race.
Similarly, his challenge to the Squad focused on the progressive antics of four freshman congresswoman and he said so. Their race or gender were never made an issue. Yet his critics uniformly claimed that he picked on them because they were all women of color. Nowhere did anyone apply the aforementioned Tlaib analysis which has it that numbers do not necessarily define reality. Of course, Tlaib herself is one of the four members of the Squad.
We hasten to add that we appreciate that Tlaib is a Palestinian-American and has every right to her views, although we hope that they would be well-informed and driven by fact and not ideology. And our overarching point is that any conclusions drawn from numbers must be carefully weighed in context.