by Hugh Fitzgerald
Rashida Tlaib (D.-Nablus) is still conducting her endless campaign of vilification and hate directed at Israel. A report on her latest attack is here: “Media Bias Provides Cover for Rashida Tlaib’s Efforts to Hide Palestinian Terror,” by Gidon Ben-zvi, Algemeiner, September 5, 2021:
On August 28, United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) ignited a firestorm after posting a claim on Twitter that Israel was dehumanizing Palestinians by not returning the body of an assailant who in June had attempted to ram a car into IDF soldiers before exiting the vehicle while wielding a knife. She was subsequently shot dead.
The assailant was Mai Afana, who had tried to kill Israeli soldiers, first with a car-ramming at a checkpoint and then with the knife she wielded after exiting the car, with which she intended to stab them.
Nevertheless, Tlaib wrote the following on the social media platform:
Meet Mai Afana’s mother, Khuloud, who is fighting to be able to bury her daughter & begin her healing. Mai was a mother, loving daughter & successful PhD student. She was killed by the Israeli government last June. Israel won’t release her body to her family.
“First, there is the obvious fact that Tlaib failed to even note that Afana had committed an act of terrorism.
Tlaib says nothing about the car-ramming, nor about the knife she wielded. All she wants us to know is that the woman in question was “a mother, loving daughter, & successful PhD student.” Could a doting mother and loving daughter try to kill Israelis? Of course she could. For Mai Afana, Israelis – Zionists – Jews all deserve death for running a colonial-settler state on land they stole from the Palestinians. Mai Afana was raised to believe this; she read about the perfidious Jews in her antisemitic PA schoolbooks; she saw the PA television programs teaching little children to sweetly lisp songs about killing Jews as they mimicked stabbing motions; she knew from dozens of verses in the Qur’an that the Jews were the “strongest in enmity” to the Muslims and guilty of every possible crime against them. But why should Rashida Tlaib want to describe what Mai Afana was threatening when she was shot? That would only confuse her 1.4 million followers on Twitter. And why should she explain how Mai Afana was brainwashed, from early childhood on, to feel only a murderous hatred for Jews? Nothing about an obvious act of terrorism stopped just in time, nothing about the fanatical hate that impelled Afana to become a “martyr.”
Second, Afana was not killed by “the Israeli government,” but rather by security forces who were intentionally targeted.
To claim she was “killed by the Israeli government” is to suggest a vast and deep malevolence, a state-supported campaign of murder aimed at hapless, innocent, Palestinians. But it was not the government that killed Mai Afana. Nor did any members of the Israeli security forces — whom she tried to run down and then to stab — want to kill the girl. Mai Afana alone is responsible for her own death. What were the Israeli security services to do when she suddenly came at them with a knife? Everywhere in the world the police would behave just as the Israelis — who had to react immediately to “neutralize” the imminent threat — did.
But there’s no mention of any of this in Rashida Tlaib’s tweets or other statements. In her telling, Mai Afana was a loving daughter, a doting mother, a talented Ph.D. student, who for no reason at all was wantonly gunned down by Israeli police, expressing the Zionists’ murderous and motiveless malignity.
Third, Tlaib alludes to an Israeli policy whose underpinnings she is clearly unfamiliar with.
While Rashida Tlaib in particular, and more broadly the international media, have seemingly turned a blind eye to the ramifications of Israel returning the bodies of dead Palestinian terrorists, the country’s High Court of Justice has addressed the matter.
In 2019, the court ruled that the military has the legal right to keep the bodies of slain terrorists. The justices determined that doing so is a matter of national security, and that the practice was not illegal under international law governing armed conflict.
The ruling was effectively a judicial seal of approval for a 2018 parliamentary law that allowed district police commanders to determine whether to release terrorists’ bodies for burial. The law made clear that praise has repeatedly been lavished on dead terrorists at their funerals, which, in turn, has served to incite additional attacks.
The Israelis have since 2019 chosen in some — not all — cases, not to release the bodies of terrorists they have killed, or who have died in suicide attacks. This is done for two reasons. The first is to avoid the celebration of dead terrorists at their funerals, where ordinarily hundreds of people turn out to salute dead terrorists in their hometowns, and to promise to emulate him, or her. These funerals are part of what makes terrorism attractive to young Palestinians, whose dreams of glory certainly include being given such funerals themselves, where they will be hailed as heroes and “martyrs.”
Indeed, what Tlaib overlooks — and the media continually downplays — is the culture of “martyrdom” that pervades Palestinian society.
- Street names being named after killers of Israeli civilians;
- Over 30 Palestinian schools named for terrorists and Nazi collaborators;
- Summer camps named after — and praising — terrorists; and
- Terror payments from the Palestinian Authority’s “Martyrs Fund” — monthly stipends to the families of terrorists killed, wounded, or imprisoned for attacking Israeli women, children, and men
By not turning over the bodies of dead terrorists, Israel puts a damper on the very public, and often hysterical, celebrations of their lives and murderous deeds.
The second, and more important reason for withholding the bodies of terrorists is to use them as bargaining chips with Hamas, to pressure the terror group to give back Israeli dead to the Jewish state. Hamas for seven years has held onto the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed in 2014. In fact, it was the family of Hadar Goldin that convinced the Israeli government to withhold the bodies of dead terrorists beginning in 2019. Now Israel has a bargaining chip – the bodies of dead terrorists that it will not release until the bodies of Goldin and Shaul are returned in a swap. We’ll have to wait to see if the families of terrorists killed by Israel are able to persuade Hamas to return the bodies of Goldin and Shaul, in order to obtain the bodies of their “martyrs.”
Tlaib’s August 28 tweet was the latest in a series of posts vilifying the Jewish state for defending its citizens.
In 2020, she tweeted to her 1.4 million followers:
I still remember the Erekat family’s plea last year to release their loving son, Ahmed’s body. Here is his story. @hrw and other human rights organizations have demanded an end to this disgusting practice, and the U.S. must join them in that demand.
Besides dismissing Israel’s response to serious national security concerns as a “disgusting practice,” Tlaib again engages in historical revisionism. Ahmad Erekat was caught on video committing an act of terrorism….
The entire sequence of events was captured on a security camera. 26-year-old Ahmad Erekat can be seen sitting in his car, which is at the front of a line of cars stopped just before an Israeli checkpoint known as “the Kiosk.” Then his car, facing forward, moves slowly up to the checkpoint. All of a sudden, Erekat puts his foot on the gas and turns the car, now suddenly revved up, right at a crowd of Israeli soldiers and border police. There Is no doubt he was deliberately intending to hit them; he managed to hit one female officer of the Border Police, who was thrown up into the air. Then after this car-ramming attack, Erekat gets calmly out of his vehicle; it looks like he may be holding something in his hand – a gun? A knife? In the nightmare haste of the moment, who could tell? He starts to walk toward the soldiers when he is shot and killed. He was clearly intent on doing them harm.
In 2019 the Israeli government approved a policy of holding onto the bodies of slain terrorists. In late 2020, it extended that policy to include the bodies of all Palestinians who had been killed in terrorist attacks, even if they were not members of Hamas, PIJ, or any other terrorist group.
Rashida Tlaib has managed since 2018 to attract the terrifying number of 1.4 million followers on Twitter. She does not feel any obligation to explain what Mai Afana did that caused Israeli security to fire on her. Instead of mentioning her car-ramming, and Afana then coming, knife in hand, straight at the Israelis, Tlaib provides only a tale of pathos: harmless Mai Afana, the loving Palestinian daughter of a distraught Palestinian mother, the doting mother of a now-motherless child, the Ph.D. candidate who will never get a chance to share her knowledge; we are left to conclude that the Israelis for no reason shot down this admirable woman because… because they could.
And when Tlaib discusses for the Israeli policy, adopted in 2019, of holding onto the bodies of dead terrorists, she doesn’t provide a reason. Not a word about Hamas holding the bodies of Goldin and Shaul for seven years, nor about how the Palestinians routinely turn funerals of terrorists into noisy celebrations of their “heroic deeds” – celebrations that encourage the impressionable young to become terrorists, and possibly even “martyrs,” themselves. Reading Rashida Tlaib, you are left with the impression that Israel, for no reason, is being wantonly cruel in holding onto those Palestinian bodies, tormenting their families. Not a hint about Israel trying to persuade Hamas to engage in a swap. This is the universe of lies Rashida Tlaib has constructed and keeps adding to, in her Twitter account, in her public speeches, in statements on the floor of the House. There’s no way to stop her from feeding her poison to 1.4 million followers. Twitter won’t ban her. All we can do is keep responding online, keep sweeping back the tide of her nonsense, lies, and malice. And hope that she manages to somehow trip up just in time for the 2022 election.
First published in Jihad Watch.