House Republican leaders harshly criticized Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Sunday for saying that thinking about the Holocaust gave her "kind of a calming feeling," because, she claimed, her Palestinian ancestors provided a "safe haven" for its Jewish victims, Fox News reported.
The GOP called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discipline the Democrat from Michigan who is the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress. Tlaib made the comments while discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Yahoo News podcast "Skullduggery."
"There’s always kind of a calming feeling... 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," Tlaib said, adding “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."
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said "There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance."
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called her comments “ignorant,” tweeting that she “should take some time to learn the history before trying to rewrite it.”
The Washington Examiner pointed out that not only did the Palestinians not provide a safe haven to Jews but they supported the Nazi cause and exerted pressure to keep Jewish refugees out.
As criticism exploded, Tlaib accused her critics of "trying to silence" her and advance a "racist and hateful agenda."
"Policing my words, twisting & turning them to ignite vile attacks on me will not work," she tweeted later Sunday. "All of you who are trying to silence me will fail miserably. I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda. The truth will always win."
Tlaib's office also later put out a statement explaining her remarks.
"The Congresswoman did not in any way praise the Holocaust, nor did she say the Holocaust itself brought a calming feeling to her," spokesman Denzel McCampbell said. "In fact, she repeatedly called the Holocaust a tragedy and a horrific persecution of Jewish people."
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