Top Democrat Calls out Omar, Tlaib for Pushing Anti-Semitism by Sharing Cartoon With ‘Vile’ Message

August 23, 2019 Updated: August 23, 2019

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called out two progressive Democratic congresswomen while criticizing members of both parties for “the growing anti-semitism” in America’s “political dialogue.”

“The growing anti-Semitism in our political dialogue is repugnant,” Nadler posted on Twitter on Aug. 22. “[Trump’s] comments about disloyalty are a vicious and dangerous anti-Semitic trope. And the Carlos Latuff cartoon forwarded by [Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar] can surely be read for its vile underlying message.”

Nadler’s comments come after Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—who have been an outspoken critic of Israel—came under fire for sharing on their Instagram stories a political drawing by Brazilian cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who has been accused of engaging in antisemitism in his works.

This revelation was first posted to Twitter by The Jewish Daily Forward’s Batya Ungar-Sargon.

“Oof. Looks like both Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib shared this awful Carlos Latuff cartoon in Instagram stories yesterday. In 2006, Latuff came in second in Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest, which is a thing that exists, in case you thought the TL couldn’t get any worse,” Ungar-Sargon wrote on her Twitter.

The cartoon depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu covering Tlaib’s mouth, while President Donald Trump is drawn doing the same to Omar. The text above the picture in Tlaib’s post states, “The more they try to silence us, our voices rise. The more they try to weaken us, the stronger we become. The more they try to discredit us, the truth prevails.”

Ungar-Sargon pointed out the work as belonging to Latuff, who in 2006 won second prize in an Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest that received international condemnation.

The curator of the competition, Masoud Shojai, said at the time that the competition would continue until “the destruction of Israel,” according to the Associated Press.

Latuff, who has been accused of denying the Holocaust, has previously defended his cartoons claiming that he is trying to draw attention toward “suffering of the Palestinian people.” The words “anti-zionism is not anti-semitism” is prominently displayed on his Twitter profile.

Both congresswomen have repeatedly garnered extensive criticism since taking office for perpetuating anti-Semitic tropes on social media.

Omar came into the spotlight earlier in the year on several occasions for posts she made on social media, in one case implying that a prominent pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC, paid off lawmakers for their support of Israel.

Her comments received bipartisan condemnation and the congresswoman subsequently apologized for her comments. The House passed a watered-down resolution in March that was meant to specifically censure Omar’s comments. The resolution (pdf), approved by a vote of 407–23, was expanded to include other forms of discrimination and omitted Omar’s name.

Along with her comments in February, Omar also received criticism for a 2012 post where she wrote on Twitter: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” The tweet has since been deleted.

Similarly, Tlaib said in an interview last year that she is in favor of a “one-state solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which would essentially end the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

In his Aug. 22 Twitter post, Nadler also criticized President Donald Trump for suggesting Jewish-Americans who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” a remark the president made at the White House on Aug. 20.

Trump clarified his remarks on Aug. 21, saying Americans who vote for Democrats are “very disloyal to Jewish people” and “very disloyal to Israel.”

“In my opinion, the Democrats have gone very far away from Israel. I cannot understand how they can do that. They don’t want to fund Israel. They want to take away foreign aid to Israel,” he said while responding to a question from a reporter.

“They want to do a lot of bad things to Israel. In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you are being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that.”

His comments garnered criticism from his opponents and various Jewish organizations, including many pro-Democratic Jewish groups. Some of the groups accused the president of weaponizing anti-Semitism for political gain.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who is a Jewish Republican in Congress, came to Trump’s defense on Aug. 22, saying that it was “crazy” that the president was accused of being anti-semitic.

“He has shown so much love and support for Jews and the U.S.-Israel relationship. He has pursued policies, he has secured victories to strengthen that relationship, that alliance between the United States and Israel,” Zeldin told Fox News’ America’s Newsroom.

“Whether it’s moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, opposing BDS and anti-Semitism here at home and abroad … withdrawing from the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal, he has focused his entire first term in office towards these very important priorities for many Jews and non-Jews here in the United States,” he said.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is supported by Omar and Tlaib, aims to cut off economic support for Israel.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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