The Education of Rashida Tlaib
By: Dr. Alex Sternberg
Your recent provocative comments claiming that you have a “calming feeling when thinking
about the Holocaust” unleashed the firestorm that you obviously hoped for. Your comments
were met by accusations of anti-Semitism, not the first time you have been accused of such
bigotry. But your personal antipathy to Jews and Israelis is neither news any more nor the real
danger of your latest comments.
Dear Rashida, the real danger of your comments is that you spread a lie that has served as the
basis for the Palestinian Arab narrative of displacement from their “ancestral homeland” for the
past 50 years.
Your claim that the Jews who survived the Holocaust were planted in your “ancestral
homeland” at your people’s expense is as much of a lie as the claim that the Land of Israel ever
belonged to an entity called Palestinians.
Israel was not created as a result of the genocide of the Jews during the Second World War. It
came into existence to return an ancient people to their ancient heritage. Israel has always
been the home of the Jewish people even when only a remnant of our people lived there.
Dear Rashida, let me help you to look at the facts about the connection of the Jewish people
with the land of Israel.
In the Jewish religion, the Land of Israel itself is holy to us. Our Torah mandates special laws
regarding produce grown in the soil of Israel. When we farm outside the Holy Land we are not
obligated to observe these laws.
For us the Holy Land is, well, Holy.
Dear Rashida, I am sure you know our story. Our Temple was destroyed, and our people
murdered and dispersed. But not all. Some stayed. After many years, the dream that nurtured
us for millenniums was realized and we returned.
We didn’t wake up in 1945 and decide to move to Israel.
Dear Rashida, study Christian Byzantine sources that detail the regulations on Jewish life in
Palestine from the fourth century. No records exist about laws regulating “Palestinian life”. At
about the same time, our Jerusalem Talmud that teaches us the myriads of Jewish laws was
being written, naturally, in Jerusalem.
After the Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem in 638, a rabbinic academy was formed in Tiberius
which moved later to Ramle.
In 1099 after Crusaders arrived in Palestine, Jews were at first banned from living in Jerusalem
but allowed to live in the rest of Palestine. Rashida, don’t you get it? We were there and lived
there. There is simply no evidence of the existence of any “Palestinians” at that time or any
other time. You were not there. As a distinct people with a land of your own, I am sorry to tell
you, you didn’t exist.
During the Ottoman rule from the mid 1500’s, the Jewish population in Palestine exploded with
significant increases in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Gaza, Hebron, Acre, and Safed.
Rashida, did you know that the city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909?
Long before Theodore Hertzl was inspired to advocate for a homeland for Jews, movements
such as the Hovevei Tzion ( Lovers of Zion) and BILU ( House of Jacob Arise and Go) were
bringing Jews to the Land of Israel in the early and mid 1880’s. For us the name of “Palestine”
never mattered because it was always Israel.
Mark Twain the famous America writer, visited Palestine in 1867 and wrote about his trip in his
epic “Innocents Abroad”. He described the Jezreel Valley:
“There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single
permanent habitation. One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten
His impressions of the entire country were similar. Rashida, read his book. Let me know if you
find any Palestinians.
So, the inconvenient truth, is that Arabs and Jews both lived in Palestine. They were all referred
to as “Palestinians”. During the Second World War, the Palestine Brigade fought as part of the
British 8 th Army. They were all Palestinian Jews.
In fact, the awakening and realization among Arabs that they were in fact “Palestinian”, wasn’t
until the mid-sixties, when that famous Palestinian (born in Egypt) Yasser Arafat discovered his
So, now that we have set the record straight about Jewish ties to the Land of Israel, lets debunk
your other lie about that “calming feeling” of providing a “safe haven for the Jews”.
The Arab riots in 1929 in the city of Hebron, butchered 69 innocent Jews living and studying the
holy books. I am certain it did not leave them with a “calming feeling”.
Nor did the national Arab riots from 1936 -39 demanding an end to any more immigration by
Jews. Several hundred Jews were killed as your ancestors searched for that “calming feeling”.
The British stopped Jewish immigration as a result of these riots, choking off the only place that
may have offered refuge for those Jews who were fleeing Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Was that the “calming feeling” you were referring to?
The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini urged the genocide of the Jews in Palestine with
his friend Adolf Hitler. Husseini lived in Berlin planning the mass murder of the Jews.
What “calming feeling” do you think he and the Palestinian Arab leadership were developing, as
they planned this extermination?
Palestinian Arabs have been repeating the lie that if only Israel withdraws to the pre-67 lines
there will be peace. Why did you attack the Jews living in Israel in 1948? And then in 1956 and
again in 1967? Jordan was occupying that land not Israel.
So, Dear Rashida, let’s stop the lies. Palestinian Arabs have been murdering Jews long before
there was a modern State of Israel. They want to eradicate our existence there. The pre-67 lines
that you want the Israelis to withdraw to are the pre 1948 lines. Before there was a modern
State of Israel.
You and your Palestinians simply believe another one of Hitlers’ principals: “If you repeat a lie
often enough, people will believe it “