WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic leaders in the US gathered behind a new legislature on Monday after President Donald Trump and other Republicans attacked them for commenting on the Holocaust and the Palestinians.
FILE PHOTO – US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listens during a hearing on the "Trump Administration's Response to the Drug Crisis – Part II" on Capitol Hill, Washington, USA, on May 9 2019. REUTERS / Leah Millis
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made statements on Twitter stating that Trump and other Republicans were talking to Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American from Michigan and one from two Muslim women in Congress, should apologize. Presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders also weighed in.
The Yahoo News podcast "Skullduggery" asked Tlaib last week for her support for a one-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.
In a broad response, she said, "There is a kind of reassuring feeling that I keep telling people when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust and the fact that my ancestors, the Palestinians, theirs Ancestors have lost land and some have lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways and the passports of some people have been destroyed.
"I mean, all in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, after the Holocaust, after the tragedy and terrible persecution of Jews around the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors who made that possible in many ways. But they did it in a way that deprived them of human dignity, and it was forced upon them, "she said. Congressional Republicans attacked Tlaib over the weekend, and the house's Republican Whip Steve Scalise called her comments anti-Semitic. "More than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. There is nothing "reassuring" about this fact, "said Scalise.
Trump joined them on Monday with a tweet in which he described Tlaib's remarks as "terrible and highly insensitive".
"She obviously has a huge hatred of Israel and the Jewish people," the president said.
Pelosi and Hoyer said Trump and House Republicans had taken Tlaib's words out of context. They "should apologize to Rep. Tlaib and the American people for their gross misrepresentations," Pelosi wrote on Twitter.
Their rapid defense, in contrast to the Democratic Party's internal struggles earlier this year, was whether it should rebuke another Muslim legislator, representative Ilhan Omar, for statements that some also considered anti-Semitic, as she proposed that Israeli supporters have a "loyalty" to a foreign country ".
At the time, some Democrats warned that party leaders would play into the hands of Republicans. In the end, the democratically led House approved a comprehensive resolution condemning anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and other forms of bigotry.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, called Tlaib's comments on Monday "grossly anti-Semitic and ignorant".
Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall