The Washington Post has addressed inflammatory comments by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) about the Holocaust by focusing on the Republican response to her statements, rather than on Tlaib’s own remarks.
The Post‘s tactic reflects an increasingly common approach by mainstream media outlets when forced to cover the latest extreme remark by a member of the Democratic caucus: paint the Republicans as the extremists by casting their reactions as overzealous.
Tlaib made the flagrantly false claim in a recent Skulduggery podcast (at 28:11 in the audio) that Palestinians had offered Jews a “safe haven” after the Holocaust.
In reality, the major Palestinian leadership figure of the time, Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, collaborated with Nazi Germany, and Palestinians violently opposed Jewish immigration — before, during, and after the Second World War.
Tlaib also made the awkward remark that “[t]here’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I think of the Holocaust,” meaning that she felt reassured about the “fact” [sic] that Palestinians had helped Jews (they did not).
Tlaib brought up the Holocaust on her own, by way of defending her call for the destruction of Israel through the creation of a single Palestinian state.
The Post described the controversy in an article headlined, “House Republicans criticize Rep. Tlaib over remarks on Holocaust, Israel.” The newspaper did not cover Tlaib’s remarks on their own.
In the article, the Post defended Tlaib, saying that Republicans who had criticized her use of the phrase “calming feeling” were “falsely accusing her of using the phrase to describe her views about the Holocaust itself.”
The Post article, written by Felicia Sonmez, went on to accuse Republicans of distorting Democrats’ remarks — as if that were the real issue: “The episode marks the second time in recent weeks Republicans have seized on out-of-context remarks by a freshman Democratic lawmaker.”
The article neglected to mention the other “context” — that this remark was hardly the first anti-Israel or antisemitic statement by Tlaib.
Update: Tlaib issued a statement in response to Republican attacks that repeats the false historical claim that “her ancestors were involved in helping those tragically impact by the Holocaust.”