Rep. Rashida Tlaib retweets an unsourced story accusing Jews of child murder

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who occupies a position at the heart of American politics, blithely retweeted an unsourced, unproven, and untrue claim that Jews living in Beit Hanina kidnapped and executed a seven-year-old boy. This is a  modern version of the medieval blood libel against the Jews.

The anti-Semitic blood libel has a long history, going back to at least the 1st century A.D., when the Jewish historian Josephus rebutted a claim that Antiochus Epiphanes found a Greek man in the temple in Jerusalem being fattened for sacrifice. A thousand years later, a Byzantine document again accused Jews of kidnapping a stranger every seven years to serve as a human sacrifice in the Temple at Jerusalem.

By the 12th century, the blood libel had firmly taken in England hold after Jews were accused of ritually sacrificing William of Norwich, a young boy found stabbed in the woods. After that, until the Jews were expelled from England in 1290, Jews were routinely accused of executing children and using their blood in rituals, especially when making matzo for Passover. The Jews were then slaughtered in pogroms. The libel migrated to Europe with the same deadly consequences for Jews.

The great irony of the blood libel, of course, is that one of the central stories in the Hebrew Bible is the Binding of Isaac, in which God ends human sacrifice. The Ten Commandments, the foundation of Western morality, forbid murder. The Jewish laws governing kosher cooking even forbid using blood when cooking.

Leviticus twice forbids consuming blood: “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:17.) “Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.” (Leviticus 7:26.) While criminally-inclined individual Jews might commit murder, Jews were the first culture to take a moral stand against murder (as opposed to pagan cultures, which took a monetary or blood vengeance stand against it).

With this as a background, let’s go back to Rep. Rashida Tlaib. There is a genuine tragedy at the heart of the story:

[7-year-old] Qais Abu Ramila’s body was discovered in a reservoir of rainwater Saturday after long hours of search efforts after he was last seen at 4 p.m. Friday heading to a local market to buy pita. The boy apparently slipped into and drowned in the pool, full from the heavy rains last week, according to police.

Based upon a rumor (later proven false) that a video showed the boy entering a car, Palestinians promptly tried to attack their Jewish neighbors. Hanan Ashrawi, who was Yassir Arafat’s spokeswoman, retweeted a tweet accusing “Israeli settlers” of kidnapping and then executing the child. That’s when Rashida got into the act:

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib then re-tweeted Ashrawi and included all the allegations.

Ashrawi later apologized for her tweet. “My apologizes for re-tweeting something that’s not fully verified. It seems that the news of his being kidnapped is not certain.” Tlaib, the Democratic representative from Michigan, also retweeted and the tweet was thereafter deleted but she did not apologize for spreading the false information.

From the moment Tlaib appeared on the political scene, it was clear that (a) in her own mind she represents, not the American people, but those Arabs identifying as Palestinians and (b) that she’s an anti-Semite. To put her retweet and her refusal to apologize, here are just a few highlights of Tlaib’s moments in the sun:

When Tlaib won her seat in Congress, she wrapped herself in a Palestinian, not an American, flag to celebrate.

Her office had a map that had a sticky note identifying Israel as “Palestine.”

Tlaib said thinking about the Holocaust gave her a “calming feeling,” a surprising phrase she explained by saying that this was because it was her Palestinian ancestors who “lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people's passports,” just so the Jews could have a “safe haven.” Aside from the bizarre phrasing, the rewrite of history raised eyebrows.

Tlaib despises the power of prayer and those who pray, indicating that her allegiance to Islam is political, not religious.

Tlaib supports Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization dedicated to exterminating Jews around the world.

Tlaib regurgitates anti-Semitic slurs, with her recent blood libel being only the latest of many.

Looking at Tlaib’s record, it’s really not newsworthy that she retweeted a blood libel. Instead, it’s just Tlaib being Tlaib.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who occupies a position at the heart of American politics, blithely retweeted an unsourced, unproven, and untrue claim that Jews living in Beit Hanina kidnapped and executed a seven-year-old boy. This is a  modern version of the medieval blood libel against the Jews.

The anti-Semitic blood libel has a long history, going back to at least the 1st century A.D., when the Jewish historian Josephus rebutted a claim that Antiochus Epiphanes found a Greek man in the temple in Jerusalem being fattened for sacrifice. A thousand years later, a Byzantine document again accused Jews of kidnapping a stranger every seven years to serve as a human sacrifice in the Temple at Jerusalem.

By the 12th century, the blood libel had firmly taken in England hold after Jews were accused of ritually sacrificing William of Norwich, a young boy found stabbed in the woods. After that, until the Jews were expelled from England in 1290, Jews were routinely accused of executing children and using their blood in rituals, especially when making matzo for Passover. The Jews were then slaughtered in pogroms. The libel migrated to Europe with the same deadly consequences for Jews.

The great irony of the blood libel, of course, is that one of the central stories in the Hebrew Bible is the Binding of Isaac, in which God ends human sacrifice. The Ten Commandments, the foundation of Western morality, forbid murder. The Jewish laws governing kosher cooking even forbid using blood when cooking.

Leviticus twice forbids consuming blood: “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:17.) “Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.” (Leviticus 7:26.) While criminally-inclined individual Jews might commit murder, Jews were the first culture to take a moral stand against murder (as opposed to pagan cultures, which took a monetary or blood vengeance stand against it).

With this as a background, let’s go back to Rep. Rashida Tlaib. There is a genuine tragedy at the heart of the story:

[7-year-old] Qais Abu Ramila’s body was discovered in a reservoir of rainwater Saturday after long hours of search efforts after he was last seen at 4 p.m. Friday heading to a local market to buy pita. The boy apparently slipped into and drowned in the pool, full from the heavy rains last week, according to police.

Based upon a rumor (later proven false) that a video showed the boy entering a car, Palestinians promptly tried to attack their Jewish neighbors. Hanan Ashrawi, who was Yassir Arafat’s spokeswoman, retweeted a tweet accusing “Israeli settlers” of kidnapping and then executing the child. That’s when Rashida got into the act:

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib then re-tweeted Ashrawi and included all the allegations.

Ashrawi later apologized for her tweet. “My apologizes for re-tweeting something that’s not fully verified. It seems that the news of his being kidnapped is not certain.” Tlaib, the Democratic representative from Michigan, also retweeted and the tweet was thereafter deleted but she did not apologize for spreading the false information.

From the moment Tlaib appeared on the political scene, it was clear that (a) in her own mind she represents, not the American people, but those Arabs identifying as Palestinians and (b) that she’s an anti-Semite. To put her retweet and her refusal to apologize, here are just a few highlights of Tlaib’s moments in the sun:

When Tlaib won her seat in Congress, she wrapped herself in a Palestinian, not an American, flag to celebrate.

Her office had a map that had a sticky note identifying Israel as “Palestine.”

Tlaib said thinking about the Holocaust gave her a “calming feeling,” a surprising phrase she explained by saying that this was because it was her Palestinian ancestors who “lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people's passports,” just so the Jews could have a “safe haven.” Aside from the bizarre phrasing, the rewrite of history raised eyebrows.

Tlaib despises the power of prayer and those who pray, indicating that her allegiance to Islam is political, not religious.

Tlaib supports Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization dedicated to exterminating Jews around the world.

Tlaib regurgitates anti-Semitic slurs, with her recent blood libel being only the latest of many.

Looking at Tlaib’s record, it’s really not newsworthy that she retweeted a blood libel. Instead, it’s just Tlaib being Tlaib.