Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the Detroit-born daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is used to being a lightning rod for controversy given her support of Palestinians and criticism of Israel — but now she’s at the epicenter of the white-hot political fight over the Israel-Hamas war this week.Tlaib is known for her explosive rhetoric; she has used the phrase “from the river to the sea” despite warnings the words are anti-Semitic and code for those who want the eradication of Israel. One Jewish activist told The Post she has said all “the most horrible things about Israel” that there are and Lee Zeldin, the Republican New York gubernatorial candidate who served with her in the House, called her “evil.”A conservative activist accosted Tlaib near her congressional offices Oct. 27, asking if she would denounce Hamas. \Tlaib’s response was that he was “dehumanizing Palestinians.”She has long accused Israel of genocide. She also refused to apologize two weeks ago for saying Israel caused the hospital blast in Gaza despite United States officials saying they had evidence it was an errant rocket launched by Hamas.In 2019, Israel barred both Tlaib and US Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from entering the country. President Donald Trump claimed both women hate “all Jewish people”; Tlaib accused him of trying to “ignite vile attacks” by taking her comments “out of context,” and Omar said it was “an affront.”On Wednesday she survived a bid by her fellow congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to have her censured for “antisemitic activities.” Tlaib’s office did not respond to The Post’s request for comment but she had slammed the resolution as “unhinged” and said it was “deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates.”. But the eldest of 14 siblings of Palestinian parents has not flinched despite the firestorm of criticism aimed her way.Tlaib’s father was from East Jerusalem and her mother left the West Bank town of Beit Ur al-Fauqa for the U.S. in 1975, a year before she was born. Roughly one-third of the village’s 900 people are members of Tlaib’s extended family.Born Rashida (meaning “righteous”) Harbi Elabed, the 47-year-old congresswoman is very close to her mother, Fatima, who held the Quran for her when she was sworn into Congress. Tlaib grew up speaking Arabic as her first language. Her father, Harbi Elabed, a longtime auto worker at Ford, died several years ago. Tlaib graduated from Wayne State University in 1998 and from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2004. Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, attended the same law school.She immediately went Democratic politics after law school, when she interned for State Representative Steve Tobocman. She later ran for his seat and won. Tlaib was the first Muslim elected to the state legislature. In 2012 she won re-election to the Michigan House in the newly redrawn 6th district, another ultra-safe Democratic seat. When she had to quit because of term limits in 2014, she lost a primary for the state senate and got her only job outside elected politics since graduating law school, at the Detroit-based Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice.Her friend and former boss attorney Tony Paris, told The Post: “She is a tireless advocate for people.“She has long been an advocate for oppressed people and the underdog. She’s always been at the front lines of these issues and I believe history will vindicate her stances on these issues.”In 2018 she ran for Congress when longterm Democratic rep. John Conyers was forced to quit over sexual harassment allegations. She lost a primary for the special election, but won the primary for the general for Michigan’s 12th Congressional district — a seat so safely Democratic she did not have a Republican challenger.Her victory, and that of Omar, a Somali-American from Minnesota, made them the first Muslim women in the House.Just before she was sworn in, she said of President Trump: “We are going to impeach the motherf—er.”Tlaib’s uncle, Bassam Abdualla Tlaib, who still lives in the West Bank, told NBC News in 2018 after Rashida was elected to Congress that his niece was always ambitious.She was called “The Lawyer” at age just 10 due because of her outsized drive and efforts to help people and desire to help everyone, he said.But since entering Congress she has been a lighting rod for controversy — in almost equal measure for her outspoken socialist views and her opposition to Israel. She has long had a Palestinian flag outside her Congressional office.“Saying this loud and clear: Speaking up against the apartheid government of Israel is not hate speech,” Tlaib tweeted in June. “Attempts to silence those who speak truth allows the racism, oppression and violence to grow.”Tlaib struck the same defiant tone in response to Greene’s accusations against her.“Marjorie Taylor Greene’s unhinged resolution is deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates,” Tlaib said in a statement. Some of Tlaib’s seven brothers and six sisters — as well as her ex-husband Fayez Tlaib, an American-Palestinian businessman whom she married in 1998 and divorced in 2015 and with whom she shares two sons, are as fiery as she is. In 2021, Fayez Tlaib called former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon “Israeli Demon.” One sister, Layla Elabed, reposted a conspiracy theory that kidnapped Israeli soldier Ori Megidish, who was rescued from Gaza this week in a daring Israeli operation, was a fake. The majority of her siblings have remained in the Detroit area. Her brother, Ibrahem Elabed, is a senior manager at a nonprofit there and another, Jacob, is a logistics manager.But Tlaib’s enemies are numerous and do not mince words when asked about her.“She may be the most evil member of Congress that I can think of in my lifetime,” former congressman Lee Zeldin told The Post Tuesday.“She has some competition with current and former members but she’s worked hard to be in a terrible league by herself. “When Hamas terrorists raped and murdered and beheaded innocent Israeli citizens, Rashida refused to name Hamas in her statement, or to condemn those evil acts and speak with any moral clarity at a moment when never again began now. “She is a Hamas sympathizer. She is the last type of person we should have in government speaking for American foreign policy, speaking for American values and leading in this very difficult time.”Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said, “Rashida is arguably the biggest Jew hater and Israel basher in Congress. After she was elected she walked around with a Palestinian flag. “If you wrote down the most horrible things you can say about the Israel state she has said it.”
02 Kasım 2023 - 13:05
How Rashida Tlaib became ‘the biggest Jew hater in Congress’
The socialist daughter of Palestinian immigrants has held safe Democratic seats and used her position to attack Israel. Family members share her views.
02 Kasım 2023 - 13:05