Rashida Tlaib, Blood Libels and the Democratic Party

Ari Lieberman, Failure of Dem leadership to condemn a foul-mouthed, Jew-hating conspiracy theorist is a telling sign.

By the time Israeli first responders had pulled eight-year-old Qais Abu Ramila out of the rain-filled cistern in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Haninah this past Friday night, he was showing no signs of life. Israeli paramedics frantically tried to resuscitate the boy, but it was too late. Ramila had accidentally fallen into the cistern and drowned. Israeli efforts to locate Ramila and resuscitate him were nothing short of heroic. To the Israeli paramedics and other first responders who waded in the pond’s cold, murky waters, it mattered not that he was Arab or Jewish. A boy was missing, and his anguished parents needed resolution.

That should have been the end of this sad and tragic affair, but sadly, it was only the beginning. The boy’s family initially claimed that Ramila was kidnapped by “settlers,” an unsubstantiated claim that they quickly retracted. Nevertheless, rumors of a kidnapping whipped an Arab mob into a frenzy. The mob tried to enter an adjacent Jewish neighborhood but was blunted by Israeli security forces.

A faceless and nameless Palestinian troll account going by the name realSeifBitar, then took to Twitter and tweeted that Ramila was “kidnapped by a Herd of violent #Israeli settlers, assaulted and thrown in a water well…” That was a blatant lie and could be characterized as nothing short of a blood libel. The troll account further noted that Israeli security forces tried to impede with rescue efforts; another revolting lie.

It’s one thing for a nameless, faceless troll account to invoke a blood libel in furtherance of nefarious political aims. It’s an entirely different matter however, when those who propagate the blood libel are government officials.

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Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent Palestinian official and no stranger to blood libels, retweeted the troll account’s mendacious comments adding, “The heart just shatters.” She later recanted, noting that the report was unverified. But before she did so, her tweet was picked up by democratic congressional lawmaker Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th congressional district. Though she later deleted the offensive tweet, she refused to apologize even after Ashrawi retracted.

Blood libels are an affront to humanity and refer to a centuries-old mendacity that Jews murder non-Jews – Muslims and Christians – for ritualistic purposes. They were used to justify murder, robbery and harassment against minority and vulnerable Jewish populations.

The Hamas charter, which subscribes to the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is riddled with blood libels. The PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi heads a Western-funded non-governmental organization called Miftah, which has in the past, advanced blood libel hoaxes. In 2013, it published an article which alleged that “Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.” The article was published in Arabic and was intended for Arabic audiences, where such allegations are routinely regurgitated with banal regularity. In July 2014 Mahmoud Abbas’ official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, featured an op-ed which claimed that Jews use the “blood of [Palestinian] children” as a key ingredient in Matzah. Shortly thereafter, in a variation of that insidious theme, Palestinian Authority TV alleged that Israel was injecting poison into the Palestinian water supply.

We expect blood libels to emanate from such quarters; after all, the Muslim world is exposed to a steady diet of antisemitism from both official and unofficial mediums. From government radio to social media to the interior chambers of the mosque, Jews are vilified and dehumanized. More often than not, they are referred to as monkeys, apes and pigs.

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In light of these sad facts, it did not come as a surprise when Ashrawi tweeted a vile blood libel. What is surprising and frankly shocking, is that it would be repeated by a member of the United States Congress. Tlaib’s fellow Democratic allies have remained mute in the face of her outrage. Their failure to explicitly condemn Tlaib serves only to embolden her and her fellow anti-Semitic allies like Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The Washington Examiner’s Bethany Mandel notes, “The Rubicon has been crossed. One of the two major political parties in this country is openly accepting of anti-Semites in its midst.” That insightful comment should send a shudder through those thinking of pulling the lever for a Democratic or socialist candidate in 2020.

What’s more, aside from conservative media and Jewish news outlets, the so-called establishment media has been largely silent on the matter. Their disgraceful silence amounts to shameful condonation of Tlaib’s actions. The Federalist’s Erielle Davidson notes, “When the antisemitism emanates from the left, our media simply doesn’t care.” That is an unfortunate but accurate assessment.

There is however, one crucial difference between today’s blood libels disseminated by the likes of Tlaib and Ashrawi, and those of yesteryear propagated in Medieval Europe and the Muslim world. Today, there is a Jewish State with a powerful military capable of defending Jews. They’ve successfully done so countless times against marauding Arab neighbors. And the Arab mobs, which acting on rumors tried and failed to invade a Jewish neighborhood following Qais Abu Ramila’s disappearance, were given a firsthand lesson on this.