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[Bulletin Archives]

History Lessons - Actual Facts, Please
May 16, 2019

Benny Morris, a historian and a professor of Middle East studies, ends his essay for the prestigious Atlantic Monthly in a profound and humorous fashion: "Perhaps in her prospective trip to the West Bank with the Humpty Dumpty Institute, which she announced on the podcast, she [Rashida Tlaib] can try them [her ideas/fabricated historical facts] out on the people who actually live in the area. We'll see what happens."

Earlier in the essay he reminds us that "from 1933 onward, Palestine's Arabs - led by the cleric Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem - mounted a strident campaign to pressure the British, who governed Palestine, to bar all Jews from entering the country. To press home their demand, in 1936 they launched an anti-British and anti-Zionist rebellion that lasted three years."
Those are historical facts (read the essay and judge for yourself) that make Representative Tlaib's claims about her welcoming ancestors seem comical.
Another senior historian, Robert Rozett, of Yad Vashem also takes issue with Tlaib's recent pot-stirring efforts in JTA's "Sorry, Rashida Tlaib: Israel was not a consolation prize for Jews after the Holocaust."  Even if you know the story of the State of Israel's creation, this succinct recap is worth the refresher.
"The false notion that the Palestinians are 'paying for the Holocaust' presumes that the world granted the Jews a state primarily because it felt overriding guilt and sympathy. Serious scholars concur that politics, not morality, motivated support for the Jewish state's creation - guilt and sympathy at most played a minor role in the establishment of the State of Israel, if at all," writes Rozett.
In case you missed the initial brouhaha, this CNN article and video may help you decide.
My view on this latest of Tlaib's remarks is that it is not anti-Semitic. It is however historically ignorant. I have (since she got elected) found her to be on the wrong side of facts more often than not. I think hate is a significant source for her statements and fear that mixing facts up is simply her survival tactic. I hope it backfires and her district finds future representatives who have a greater interest in the truth.

[ Read more in this week's Bulletin>>> ]

Trunk of Tolerance Project

Stories of Survival, Rescuers and Resistance

Trunk of Tolerance Project

What is a Trunk of Tolerance?

It’s a free source of materials that teachers can borrow to enhance their existing Holocaust curriculum. It is another tool to teach students tolerance and encourage them to be active resistors to prejudice.

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Amir Cohen
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