WASHINGTON (JTA) — In a recent speech, Rep. Rashida Tlaib said she struggles with the idea of uprooting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, comparing the evacuation of settlements to the displacement of Palestinians during and after Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
The Democratic congresswoman, who is Palestinian-American, made the remarks on Monday via Zoom to a group of Jewish high school students who gather virtually to hear from Palestinians. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency obtained a recording of the Zoom call.
During her appearance, one of the students asked her about Israeli West Bank settlements, which much of the international community considers illegal. In response, the Michigan representative invoked the “Nakba,” the term meaning “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to describe their displacement during and after the 1948 war.
“Some settlements have been there for so long, right?” she said. “And just the idea around taking families that — that’s been their home — it’s just completely uprooting, forcibly displacing. It’s something I struggle with because, like, we’re doing it all over again, right? This happened during the Nakba.”
Tlaib immediately qualified that “you can’t compare” the Nakba to the removal of settlements, saying that Palestinians endured more violence than uprooted settlers when they were dispersed or expelled. Palestinians, she said, also deserved “restorative justice.” But she appeared to have difficulty accommodating the idea of removing families who had lived in their homes for generations.
“Some generations now don’t know anything but that community, that is in the eyes of the United Nations and many others and agreements, it’s illegal,” she said. “So I don’t know how we do it.”
The remarks signal that Tlaib, perhaps the most outspoken critic of Israel in Congress, has something in common with many right-wing Zionists whom she otherwise opposes: an aversion to evacuating settlements. Tlaib supports the one-state solution — in which Israelis and Palestinians would live together in a single country with equal rights — and proponents of similar visions have said that, in such a scenario, Israeli settlers could remain where they are.
But pro-Palestinian politicians rarely evince sympathy for settlers, and in the past, Tlaib has been a vehement critic of Israeli settlements. Her statement Monday appears to be the first time she has expressed these sentiments publicly.
“I’m idealistic as well, and people think I’m a little corny, but I know I just think we can all live together equally,” she said later in the 35-minute talk. “I really believe we can have a state where all of our Jewish neighbors across the country can feel safe.”
Tlaib’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment or clarification. Multiple organizations that have allied with her — including Jewish Voice for Peace, the anti-Zionist Jewish group that recently cosponsored an event with Tlaib commemorating the Nakba at the U.S. Capitol — likewise did not respond to requests to comment on her remarks.
The meetings of high school students are organized by Ezra Beinart, son of Peter Beinart, the Jewish writer who, in recent decades, has transitioned from being a fierce defender of Israel to advocating for a one-state outcome. Ezra Beinart is a high school student in New York City.
Two days after Tlaib spoke to the group, she hosted the Nakba commemoration at the Capitol and introduced a congressional resolution that would recognize the Nakba, spurred in part by her frustration with weeks of Congress members celebrating Israel’s birthday.
The text of Tlaib’s Nakba resolution decries settlements. It states that “the Nakba is not only a historical event, but also an ongoing process characterized by Israel’s separate-and-unequal laws and policies toward Palestinians, including the destruction of Palestinian homes, the construction and expansion of illegal settlements, and Israel’s confinement of Palestinians to ever-shrinking areas of land.”
Tlaib’s efforts this week to mark the Nakba in Congress drew sharp criticism from mainstream Jewish groups, many of which also oppose a one-state outcome, which they fear would lead to a Palestinian-majority state hostile to Jews.
Tlaib has a long history of positions that incense the pro-Israel community. She routinely opposes defense assistance to Israel and backs the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel, known as BDS.
She outraged Jewish Democratic lawmakers last year when she said progressives could not support Israel’s government, which was then centrist. In 2020, she tweeted, then deleted, the phrase “From the river to the sea,” which is viewed as a call for Israel’s removal. In 2019, under pressure from then-President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned her and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from entering Israel, a decision that prompted rare criticism from pro-Israel advocates who argued that her status of a congresswoman merited more respectful treatment.
In her chat with the students, Tlaib returned to the themes that make her a target of mainstream pro-Israel opprobrium, including her advocacy for a binational state. She rejected the view, held by many large Jewish organizations, that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and likened Israel’s current practices to apartheid and to the Jim Crow South — analogies also rejected by most pro-Israel organizations.
“Separate but equal didn’t work in our country,” she said, referring to the various proposals that would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. “We tried and it didn’t work. Segregation made it more violent for Black neighbors.”
But she also described a vision of Israeli settlers and Palestinians living in harmony. She noted that her grandmother, whose hardships she frequently cites in criticizing Israel, lives “feet” away from a settlement. She recalled playing basketball in the neighboring settlement as a child when she visited her.
“I remember the head of the village who knew some of the folks there,” she said. “And it was beautiful, in that sense of, like, being like neighbors.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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