Rights group slams ‘Democratic’ attacks on Rashida Tlaib

A leading Muslim rights organization in the United States has launched “Islamophobic attacks” on Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib after she said supporting Israel’s “apartheid” regime was incompatible with progressive values.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a statement Thursday, called on all Democratic offices in the US House of Representatives “not to engage in dishonest, Islamophobic attacks” on Tlaib for their stance.

“Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have all recently acknowledged the Israeli government’s decades-long human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, including physical segregation and different laws based on race, constitute a system of apartheid,” CAIR said.

The statement also referred to the assassination of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli army and noted that the Tel Aviv regime had already said it would not open a criminal investigation into the premeditated killing.

“The only reason to ignore this murder caught on camera is that this American citizen was a Palestinian,” it said.

“Rather than calling on the Israeli government to uphold human rights, several House Democrats have spent the past week engaging in malicious attacks against the only Palestinian-American Muslim woman in Congress, simply for reminding her peers that apartheid is a system is governance will forever remain incompatible with democratic values.”

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Progressive vs. Pro-Israel

Tlaib said Tuesday at an online event for Palestine, “I want you all to know that it is becoming clear among progressives that you cannot claim to have progressive values ​​and at the same time support the Israeli apartheid government.”

Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, has repeatedly called for accountability in the assassination of Abu Akleh by the Israeli army and has pushed for a US-backed investigation.

The killing of Abu Akleh “opened the eyes of many of my colleagues and countless decent people around the world to the brutal reality of life under apartheid in Israel,” she said in her speech on Tuesday.

“It is downright outrageous that our government continues to refuse to hold Israel accountable for these killings.”

Her comments drew sharp criticism from fellow Democrats in Congress, with former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman accusing Schultz that it was “shameful and dangerous” for Tlaib to make the comments.

“The outrageous progressive litmus test for Israel [Tlaib] is nothing short of anti-Semitic,” Wasserman Schultz tweeted.

She added: “Proud progressives support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. To suggest otherwise is shameful and dangerous. Divisive rhetoric does not lead to peace.”

Silence critics of Israel as “anti-Semites”.

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Democratic Congressmen Jerry Nadler and Ritchie Torres, among others, also lashed out at Tlaib’s criticism as offensive.

“I fundamentally reject the notion that one cannot support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and be a progressive one,” Nadler wrote in a tweet.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said via Twitter: “In one sentence [Tlaib] simultaneously tells American Jews that they must pass an anti-Zionist litmus test in order to participate in progressive spaces, even as she redoubles her #antisemitism by vilifying Israel as an apartheid state.”

“This is absolutely reprehensible and does nothing to promote peace. We call on people of good will and leaders across the political spectrum to make it clear that such #antisemitism will not be tolerated,” he added.

However, CAIR said the allegation that Tlaib said something anti-Semitic was a blatant and dangerous lie, stating that this is not the first time members of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives have jumped to the worst possible interpretation of what one is were said by their Muslim colleagues.

“It’s just Islamophobic,” it said. “The fact that this scenario has occurred so frequently in recent years shows that Congressional Democrats need to raise the issue of Islamophobia within their own ranks. The exclusion and silence of elected Muslims and Arabs who speak the truth about their lived experiences is discriminatory and incompatible with democratic values.”

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Abu Akleh was shot in the head and killed by the Israeli army on May 11 while covering their raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. At the time of her murder, the 51-year-old journalist was wearing easily recognizable press clothing.

In a recent joint investigation, Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and London-based research group Forensic Architecture concluded that Abu Akleh was deliberately attacked by Israeli forces and dismissed the Israeli regime’s claim that the assassination was unintentional.

The results come as Abu Akleh’s family filed an official complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to demand justice for her cold-blooded murder.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military admitted there was a “high probability” that Abu Akleh was killed by his troops, but concluded it was an accident and said there would be no criminal investigation initiate because of the brutal murder.

Shatha Hanaysha, a Palestinian journalist who was with Abu Akleh when she was killed, recounted the harrowing incident in an exclusive interview with Press TV, in which she said: “I still can’t understand why it happened, why Shireen was killed why they tried to kill us.”

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