Indy cites US politician comparing treatment of Palestinians with Jim Crow segregation

A December 5th article at The Independent focused on the decision by US Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib – the first Palestinian American elected to Congress – to turn down an AIPAC sponsored trip to Israel and instead host her own congressional delegation to the West Bank. 

The report uncritically cites Tlaib – a strong proponent of BDS who has accused Israel of “inciting” Palestinian violence, and once expressed support for convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh – making the following remarks.

One thing is for certain for Ms Tlaib: She wants her delegations “to humanise Palestinians, provide an alternative perspective to the one AIPAC pushes, and highlight the inherent inequality of Israel’s system of military occupation in Palestinian territories,” something she compares to the treatment of black Americans in the Jim Crow era.

Tlaib’s comparison doesn’t hold up to even minimum critical scrutiny.

Jim Crow refers to a series of state laws in the American South from the late 1800s till the mid 1960s that enforced racial segregation in schools, public transport, parks, restaurants and other public accommodations.  These laws effected black US citizens and were based entirely on race. Life under Jim Crow truly relegated blacks in these states to second class citizenship – and created an environment that left many vulnerable to racist inspired violence, including scores of public lynchings.

Restrictions on Palestinians living in the West Bank (as with restrictions on Israelis, who, for instance, can’t enter PA controlled cities) are not based on race, but on security – decades of terrorism, including the bloody suicide bombing campaign in the early 2000s which claimed over a 1,000 Israeli lives – and citizenship.  Unlike Israel’s Arab population, who enjoy the same legal rights as Jews, West Bank Arabs (Palestinians) are not citizens of Israel, and, unlike most east Jerusalem Palestinians, are not permanent residents. The conflict is not a struggle for Palestinian racial justice, but a violent dispute between two separate peoples who have historic claims on the same land, and haven’t been able – despite multiple Israeli peace offers – to reach a negotiated solution.  Israel’s continued control of the West Bank is not the cause of the conflict. It’s a result of the conflict.

Moreover, attempts by pro-Palestinian advocates like Tlaib to impute race into the equation is undermined by the fact that a majority of Israel’s citizens are not ‘white’, but ‘people of colour’, in that they claim Mizrachi, Ethiopian, or Arab ancestries. Unlike the US and UK, Israel is a majority ‘minority’ country.

Tlaib’s ahistorical evocation of race and Jim Crow into the Israeli-Palestinian debate is clearly not motivated by the desire to build bridges, promote social justice or achieve a lasting peace, but, rather, represents a cynical misappropriation of the US Civil Rights Movement to demonise Israel and undermine its very legitimacy as a state.

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Categories: Independent

19 replies »

  1. Unfortunately, almost the entirety of the US left (including most African-Americans) believe the comparison.; the unrelenting red-green (leftist-Islamist) alliance has drilled it into their minds, exemplifying the “big lei” technique.

    • “Unfortunately, almost the entirety of the US left (including most African-Americans) believe the comparison.”

      I guess it depends on what your US left is, but if it’s Dems or People Who Don’t Like Trump or even Half of Bernie Sanders Supporters or Who Made DSA Before Kids Took Over DSA and Started Bashing Israel, then you’d be wrong.

      Why do I think you’re neither Black nor a liberal? And yet you know so much about each community. Amazing.

  2. Wasn’t offering them a state in 2000, 2001, and 2008 treating them like humans, Ms Tlaib? And what was the response? Attacking pizza joints and dance clubs and hotel ballrooms hosting Seders. Because that was so human of the Palestinians, to attack folks eating lunch, or dancing, or celebrating a Jewish holiday.

    She and Ms. Ilhan will find out that there is no vast Jewish conspiracy keeping the Palestinians down, and that they won’t be able to convince other Dems in Congress that there is. Then we’ll see what they do.

    • First of all, Ms. Tlaib doesn’t want to end some supposed Jim Crow, because it doesn’t exist. Rather, she and the movement she supports want to recreate one. And she will not learn anything in Congress that will dissuade her. She will use her new position as a platform to push lies and sow doubt about support for Israel in the Democratic Party. Support for Israel has fallen off dramatically amongst young liberal voters due to a saturation of propaganda that it is hard for Jews, as a minority, to compete with. New strategies need to be invented in order to set the record straight as to the nature and goals of Israel and her enemies.

      The antisemitic conspiracy theory that has taken hold on the anti-Zionist left that Israel’s progressive society and policies are all just a cover for the “real” objective of oppressing Palestinians is lightyears beyond just weird.