To hear Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank tell it, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who hates former President Trump and his followers, fell back on the “MAGA handbook” in her recent displays of “bigotry.”
On a positive note, Milbank does call out Tlaib’s anti-Semitism, but at the same time, he wrote that “few have been victimized by Donald Trump’s hateful tactics more” than the radical left Democrat.
“It’s a classic Trump move: Blame a minority group for a sinister conspiracy, then deny responsibility when your supporters act on your baseless claim,” he wrote. “So why is Tlaib now using the Trump playbook against others?”
And that was just the beginning of his hang-up with the former president, as Milbank effectively saying that Trump is benefiting from Tlaib’s bigotry, reminding the reader that as bad at her comments are Trump is always, somehow, worse.
A vocal critic of Israel, Milbank pointed out that Tlaib backs the highly controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, invoked the anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalty, and retweeted the statement that, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is a reference to wiping Israel off the map.
More from the column on more recent actions:
On Aug. 1, Tlaib announced that she had identified how Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land “really interacts” with the treatment of Black Americans. “Cutting people off from water is violence. And they do it from Gaza to Detroit,” she explained to the Democratic Socialists of America. “The structure we’ve been living under right now is designed by those who exploit the rest of us, for their own profit,” on issues ranging from human rights to health care. Making a drapes-parting gesture with her hands, she continued: “If you open the curtain and look behind the curtain, it’s the same people that make money — and yes they do — off of racism.”
A vague “they” conspiring to “exploit the rest of us for their own profit” from “behind the curtain”: These antisemitic tropes have been used against the Jews for generations. If that weren’t clear enough, Tlaib let it be known that “they” operate both in Gaza and Detroit, and only Jews meet that description. Tlaib went on to say the exploiters “made record profit” during the pandemic — an antisemitic conspiracy theory popular on the Web.
Milbank said that “Democrats and others on the left” should denounce the remarks as bigotry.
“It’s grotesque when Trump and his MAGA minions do it, as I’ve chronicled at length; it’s no less ugly when it comes from the left,” he added.
The columnist said her antisemitism “is dumb politically,” and bemoaned that Tlaib was “driving a wedge between Jews (the vast majority of whom are progressive) and others on the left.”
Just as he opened by jabbing at the former president, Milbank closed out in the same manner, making the bizarre claim that by being an anti-Semitic bigot, the Democratic lawmaker was somehow helping Trump.
“But more than dumb, it’s repugnant.” he concluded. “Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent and a Muslim, knows what it’s like to be the target of bigotry. Practicing the same against Jews furthers nobody’s cause but Trump’s.”
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