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Rashida Tlaib’s tweet claiming Israeli forces attacked Palestinians ‘kneeling in prayer’ a deadly dog whistle

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Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has regularly been accused of making antisemitic remarks, was blasted on social media over the weekend after she falsely suggested that Israeli forces launched an unprovoked attack on Palestinian worshippers.

“Why is Israel attacking Al Aqsa on Eid Al Adha (the holiest day for Muslims)? Why attack people who are literally kneeling down in prayer?” Tlaib, who herself is of Palestinian descent, posted on Sunday, retweeting a short video clip that was posted by Al Jazeera correspondent Arwa Ibrahim of what appears to be Israeli police or security forces moving forward at the mosque and firing non-lethal rounds.

“Answer: To continue dehumanizing Palestinians even in prayer. It’s not enough to bomb them while they sleep or demolish their homes,” she added.

Ibrahim wrote in her post, without any context: “First moments of when Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Fajr prayer this morning.”

Tlaib’s tweet was immediately refuted and she was personally ripped for making the claim.

“The worst kind of dog whistle politics,” writer and attorney Jonathan Levin clapped back on Twitter.

“This same lie has triggered Arab massacres of Jews for a century. If Israel wanted to take the Temple Mount, it could at any moment, yet this lie is repeated ad nauseum and never seems to come to fruition. All it does is stoke hatred,” he added.

Tlaib was also blasted for getting her dates wrong.

“You would think that a person who cares so much about ‘the holiest day for Muslims’ would actually know when the holiday begins. Or maybe she’s lying again because that’s just what she does best!” one person claiming to be an Israeli living in Washington, D.C., noted, along with a screenshot graphic of the correct dates.

Still others ripped Tlaib for tweeting on Tisha Be’Av, which is actually when Jews commemorate “the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively.”

Your lying, incitement and racial hatred against Jews is just relentless! For the record, today is also #TishaBeav, the saddest and one of most important days of the Jewish calendar, that marks the destruction of our Temple. You really have no shame, do you?” international human rights attorney and Mideast expert Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted.

Jewish journalist Johnny Kunza also noted that Jews were initially set upon by Palestinian “agitators.”

“Context: Today is a fast day for Jews who typically visit the Western Wall on such occasions. Agitators blocked access to the wall for Jews to worship and this is the scene that played out,” he wrote in response to Tlaib’s posted video.

“The fact Jews cannot visit one of our holiest sites, Temple Mount/Al Aqsa without violence is absurd. Jews didn’t decide for a mosque to be built on our ancient temple; and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to visit it peacefully,” writer Hen Mazzig added.

“Eid Al Adha is tomorrow. Today is Tisha B’Av. And police responded when rocks were thrown at Jews who went up to the Temple Mount, our holiest site, at their designated times to pray. Why are you lying, Rashida? Surely you cannot have some ulterior motive,” another Jewish journalist, Jordyn Tilchen, added.

I’m absolutely done with @DNC @SpeakerPelosi ignoring this blatant antisemitism. This is an attack on Jews EVERYWHERE by @rashidatlaib and she must be censured & removed from all committee assignments,” wrote another user.

Kunza’s tweet came with a link to a Jerusalem Post column by Herb Keinon who claimed that several Middle Eastern countries like Turkey, Iran, and Jordan, as well as non-nation state actors including Hamas and Ra’am, pushed the false ‘storming the mosque’ narrative in order to “whip the Arab street into a frenzy.”

Tlaib and other “Squad” members including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) were called out in May for falsely claiming that Israeli forces attacked the Al Aqsa mosque without provocation, an action that led to several days’ worth of rocket barrages into Israel from neighboring territories, triggering Israeli airstrikes in response.

Jon Dougherty

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