Rashida Tlaib

individual
© Image Copyright : Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: U.S. Congress

Overview

Biography The eldest of 14 children, Rashida Tlaib was born to Muslim parents on July 24, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother hailed from a region near the West Bank city of Ramallah, and her father was born in an Israeli suburb outside of Jerusalem. Tlaib earned a BA in Political Science/Government from Wayne State


Biography

The eldest of 14 children, Rashida Tlaib was born to Muslim parents on July 24, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother hailed from a region near the West Bank city of Ramallah, and her father was born in an Israeli suburb outside of Jerusalem.

Tlaib earned a BA in Political Science/Government from Wayne State University in 1998, and a JD from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2004. She subsequently found employment as a social worker before taking jobs at the International Institute of Metro Detroit, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, and the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice — where a majority of her co-workers were, by Tlaib’s description, “pretty much socialists” whom she “love[d].”

Tlaib entered the world of politics in 2004 as an intern to Michigan State Representative Steve Tobocman.

In October 2006, Tlaib was a guest columnist who contributed an op-ed piece titled “Bills Must Stop Deportations for Minor Offenses” to The Final Call, a newspaper and website headed by Nation Of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In her article, Tlaib lamented that immigrants were in constant fear of being arbitrarily deported for what she described as small violations such as paperwork errors.

In 2008 Tlaib was the Arab-American outreach coordinator for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in Michigan. Later that year, Tlaib herself was elected, as a Democrat, to the 12th District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives, where she would serve from 2009-15. On March 11, 2010, the Detroit News reported that Tlaib’s father, Harbi Elabed, was accusing his daughter of having lied “big-time to get elected” during her 2008 campaign. According to Elabed, Tlaib had falsely claimed on an election affidavit to be a resident of the 12th District (in southwest Detroit) – a requirement for anyone seeking that office – when in fact she lived in the city of Dearborn, which was not a part of the District. Tlaib denied her father’s allegations.

In 2010, Tlaib’s first re-election campaign received support from the People For the American Way Action Fund.

In August 2016, Tlaib was one of 14 protesters whom police forcibly removed from a Donald Trump campaign speech in Detroit, when she heckled and shouted at Trump from the audience.

Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which in 2018 endorsed her campaign to fill Michigan’s 13th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House; Democrat John Conyers had vacated that seat when he resigned amid scandal in December 2017. At a February 2018 DSA meeting in Detroit, Tlaib was asked if she planned to openly “run as a socialist.” She replied: “Yeah, um it’s, it’s — we got to win.” Tlaib then lamented that “people have tainted that word,” and said she saw it as her duty to proudly “explain [that] the labor movement was founded on socialism.”

Other supporters of Tlaib’s congressional bid included J StreetMichael Moore, Noam Chomsky, and Linda Sarsour, the latter of whom spent a day campaigning door-to-door with Tlaib.

During the 2018 campaign, Tlaib proposed amending the Civil Rights Act to allow lawsuits based on “disparate impact” rather than requiring plaintiffs to prove that they were victims of deliberate discrimination.

On August 7, 2018, Tlaib won the Democratic primary for her congressional race. On November 6, 2018, she won the general election with 84.6% of the vote.

Soon after being sworn into office, Tlaib joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Tlaib once received a fellowship from the Center for Progressive Leadership. In addition to her political duties, she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arab American Institute.

Tlaib’s Views Regarding Israel, Jews, & Islamists

Over the years, Tlaib has cultivated noteworthy ties to a number of Islamist organizations. In 2009 she received a Community Service Award from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In March 2010 she praised CAIR for its “invaluable” and “vital” “advocacy efforts” on behalf of “those who don’t have the resources to defend themselves.”[1]  In her 2010 congressional re-election campaign, Tlaib received strong support from the Arab American Political Action Committee. In 2013-14, she received numerous financial donations from individuals affiliated with CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). In 2014 she spoke at a CAIR banquet in Los Angeles, and at the annual joint conference of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America. And in a January 2015 tweet, Tlaib noted approvingly that the head of Islamic Relief USA – a branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide, which had recently been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates – had come to Detroit to discuss “water relief from Gaza to Detroit.”

In an October 2015 tweet, Tlaib linked to an article in The Nation lauding Black Lives Matter activists in Chicago for supporting “a Palestinian woman threatened with deportation.” The woman in question was Rasmea Odeh, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist who had played a central role in a deadly 1969 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, and had committed felonious immigration fraud in the U.S. years later.

In a November 2017 tweet, Tlaib criticized U.S. Senator Kamala Harris for having met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss cooperation between California and Israel on water management, agriculture, and cyber-security issues. “I am one of your supporters & donors,” Tlaib told Harris. “Hoping you are still part of the resistance to racism against ALL people. This picture [of Netanyahu] says otherwise.”

In December 2017, Tlaib shared a Facebook post in which Muslim activist Linda Sarsour had expressed support for Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl whom Israeli authorities had recently incarcerated for assaulting an IDF soldier and proclaiming that “everyone must” attack Israeli Jews by means of “stabbings, martyrdom-seeking operations [i.e. suicide bombings], throwing stones.” “Absolutely inhumane to target a young girl for fighting against racist policies,” wrote Tlaib. “Her voice should be lifted.”[2]

In December 2017 as well, Tlaib was a plaintiff in a lawsuit that attorney Shereef Akeel filed against U.S. President Donald Trump and two members of his cabinet. Condemning “the Trump Administration’s regular and vulgar attacks against Islam and Muslims,” and its “multipronged attempt to demonize Islam and marginalize Muslims in the United States,” the suit challenged an executive order by which Trump was seeking to temporarily suspend all travel visas to the United States for people hailing from six Muslim-majority countries that were hotbeds of Islamic terrorism. Other plaintiffs in the case included such notables as Linda Sarsour, Nihad Awad, and Dawud Walid.

In February 2018 Tlaib joined a Facebook group called the “Palestinian American Congress,” which commonly demonizes Jews. The group’s Palestinian founder, Maher Abdel-qader: (a) helped raise funds for Tlaib’s political campaign and organized some of her campaign events; (b) has accused Israeli settlers of training children “to terrorize Palestinian civilians”; and (c) once used his Facebook page to share a video claiming that Jews have no historical claim to Israel, and that stories of the Holocaust are gross exaggerations if not complete fabrications.

By August 2018, Tlaib and her congressional campaign had raised — for that election cycle alone — more than $30,000 from Islamists affiliated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

Prior to the August 7, 2018 Democratic primary, Tlaib was unequivocal in voicing support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That position was a key factor that enabled her to win the support of the influential organization J Street. But immediately after her victory in the primary, Tlaib completely reversed her position. When asked in an interview to describe a proper “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she replied: “One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work…. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.”

Upon winning the Democratic primary on August 7, Tlaib draped herself in a Palestinian flag while celebrating with her supporters. In her victory speech, she promised to “fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled.” When she was subsequently asked by Great Britain’s Channel 4 News if she planned to vote against U.S. military aid to Israel, Tlaib responded: “Absolutely, if it has something to do with inequality and not access to people having justice…. If you’re going to be a country that discriminates on somebody solely based on their faith, solely based on their skin color … I will be using my position in Congress so that no country, not one, should be able to get aid from the U.S. when they still promote that kind of injustice….”

When Tlaib won her congressional election on November 6, 2018, CAIR founder and CEO Nihad Awad congratulated her on her “historic victory of becoming the first Muslim and Palestinian woman in the U.S. Congress.”

In December 2018, Tlaib become just the second U.S. lawmaker — the first was Ilhan Omar — to publicly voice support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. “I personally support the BDS movement,” Tlaib said in an interview with the news website The Intercept. “I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region.”

On January 3, 2019 — her first official day as a new Member of Congress, which was now in Democratic control for the first time in eight years — Tlaib told a raucous crowd of supporters at a MoveOn.org reception near Capitol Hill that Donald Trump’s days as President were numbered: “We’re going to go in there, and we’re going to impeach the motherfu**er.” When she was sworn into office, Tlaib wore a red thobe (a traditional Palestinian gown) and took her oath by placing her hand on a copy of the Koran. That same day, a member of Tlaib’s entourage used a Post-it bearing the name “Palestine” along with an arrow pointing to Israel on a wall map in Tlaib’s office, to indicate that this should be Israel’s new name.

A notable attendee at Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony was the executive director and co-founder of Al-Awda, Abbas Hamideh, who has repeatedly: (a) stated his belief that “Israel does not have a right to exist”; (b) equated Zionism with Nazism and the genocidal ideology of ISIS; and (c) voiced support for Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, whom he regards as “the most honorable Arab-Muslim leader of our lifetime.” Moreover, Hamideh in 2015 had publicly lamented the death of “the legendary Hezbollah martyr” Samir Kuntar, who years earlier had murdered a 31-year-old Israeli Jew named Danny Haran as the latter’s four-year-old daughter, Einat, watched in horror, before proceeding to kill the girl as well by smashing her skull against a rock with his rifle. Following Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony, Hamideh posted to his Twitter account a photo of himself and Tlaib holding up a large painting of the newly elected congresswoman. He also attended a private celebratory dinner with Tlaib, her family, and a number of her friends and activists.

Also on her first full day as a Member of Congress, Tlaib embraced and posed with Islamic activist Linda Sarsour.

During the first week of January 2019, Tlaib used her Twitter account to condemn her Congressional colleagues who backed a bill designed to allow local, state, and federal agencies to avoid doing business with companies or organizations that supported the Boycott-Divestment-Sanction (or BDS) movement against Israel. “They forgot what country they represent,” wrote Tlaib. “This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality,” Tlaib tweeted. “Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.”

On April 8, 2018, Tlaib spoke at an American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) event in Washington, where she stated that she typically felt “more Palestinian” while doing her work in Congress, than she felt anywhere else. Moreover, AMP’s New Jersey chapter posted a photograph of Tlaib outside of her Capitol Hill congressional office with some of its members during the AMP event. One of those members was Joe Catron, a longtime anti-Israel activist has openly supported Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Catron was also the U.S. coordinator of the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Samidoun, an arm of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

After Israel shot some Hamas-affiliated Palestinian militants who were attempting to sabotage the border fence between Gaza and Israel, Gazan terrorists fired hundreds of rockets into Israel (killing several civilians), which in turn prompted Israel to launch airstrikes against terrorist strongholds in Gaza. Taking exception to a New York Times headline that read: “Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, and Israel Responds with Airstrikes,” Tlaib tweeted: “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free? Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families. #FreePalestine.”

During a May 2019 appearance on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Tlaib credited the Palestinian people with having helped Jews establish a homeland after the Holocaust, only to have their (Palestinians’) benevolence met with ingratitude and oppression by Israelis: “There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — 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. And, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.”

Tlaib’s Views Regarding America & Americans

In April 2018, Tlaib recalled how, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she feared for the safety of herself and her family. “I was probably in my second year in law school when 9/11 happened,” said the congresswoman. “And I was really terrified of what was going to happen to my husband, who was only a green card holder at the time. I immediately called my brothers and told them to be very careful who you hang out with, telling my sisters, you know, just be real careful out there, and being really afraid of my fellow Americans.”

Further Reading for “Biography” Section:
* “Rashida Tlaib” (Keywiki.org, Votesmart.org, & Ballotpedia.org)
* “Bills Must Stop Deportations for Minor Offenses” (by Rashida Tlaib, The Final Call, 10-6-2006)
* “Rashida Tlaib’s Father Says She ‘Lied Big-Time To Get Elected’ In Resurfaced 2010 Newspaper Article” (Daily Wire, 5-3-2019).* “Under Trump, a Growing Number of Metro Detroit Millennials Are Turning to Socialism” (Detroit Metro Times, 2-21-2018)
* “Tlaib Proposes Changes to Civil Rights Act” (Detroit News, 7-11-2018)

Further Reading for “Tlaib’s Views Regarding Israel, Jews, & Islamists”
* “Rashida Tlaib Goes to Washington (Daily Caller, 9-18-2018, re: Islamist support for Tlaib)
* “Michigan Congressional Candidate Pushes an Anti-Israel Agenda” (The Algemeiner, 8-6-2018, re: Islamist support for Tlaib, and Tlaib’s support for Rasmea Odeh)
* “Report: Dem Rep. Rashida Tlaib Belongs To Holocaust Denier Group Which Calls Jews ‘Satanic’” (Daily Wire, 1-29-2019)
* “Recipient Name: Rashida Tlaib” (Middle East Forum: Islamist Watch/Islamist Money in Politics, re: campaign donations from Islamists)
* “From Two States to One: Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib Shifts Position on Israel” (Haaretz.com, 8-16-2018)
* “J Street Withdraws Support for Rashida Tlaib Over Refusal to Endorse Two-state Solution” (Hararetz.com, 8-17-2018)
* “Newly Elected Socialist Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib Wore ‘Palestinian’ Flag at Primary Victory Celebration” (Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, 11-7-2018)
* “Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib Says She Will ‘Absolutely’ Vote Against Aid to Israel” (Washington Free Beacon, 8-14, 2018)
* “Rashida Tlaib Endorses BDS Movement” (Middle East Eye, 12-3-2018)
* “Tlaib Promises Democrats Coming for Trump: We’re Going to ‘Impeach the Motherfu**er’” (Washington Free Beacon, 1-3-2019)
* “Rashida Tlaib Wears Traditional Palestinian Dress to Take Oath [with Koran]” (BBC, 1-3-2019)
* “Israel Relabeled As ‘Palestine’ On Map In Rashida Tlaib’s Office” (Forward.com, 1-4-2019)
* “Rashida Tlaib Poses with Hezbollah-Backing Anti-Israel Activist” (Times of Israel, 1-15-2019)
* “Rep. Tlaib Guest Praised Murderer of Jewish 4-Year-Old Girl” (by Daniel Greenfield, 1-16-2009)
* “Far-Left Democrats Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib Are Normalizing Anti-Semitism In Democratic Party” (Daily Wire, 2-2-2019)
* “Rashida Tlaib Hosts Another Extreme Anti-Israel, Terror-Affiliated Activist [Joe Catron] on Capitol Hill” (Daily Caller, 4-17-2019)
* “Rashida Tlaib Attacks Israel as Palestinian Terrorists Kill Civilians” (Breitbart.com, 5-5-2019).
* “Rashida Tlaib Slammed by House GOP Over Comments on Holocaust, Palestinians” (Fox News, 5-12-2019).

Further Reading for Tlaib’s Views Regarding America & Americans

* “Tlaib: I Was ‘Really Afraid of My Fellow Americans’ After 9/11” (Washington Free Beacon, 4-26-2019)

Footnotes

  1. In July 2010, Tlaib was a panelist hearing testimony from CAIR-Michigan representatives at a special town hall meeting on racial profiling in Detroit. Other panelists included Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren, and officials of the ACLU-Michigan and the Mexican American Legal Defense Educational Fund.
  2. Since the age of ten, Tamimi had repeatedly been sent out by her parents to “confront” Israeli soldiers by cursing at them or striking them while her family filmed the encounters for propaganda purposes. The girl’s aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, was the mastermind of an August 2001 suicide bombing that killed 15 people and wounded 130 in the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem.

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