Statement of the Conference of Presidents: Rashida Tlaib

May 14, 2019


We are once again highly concerned by remarks made by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, in which she engaged in historical revisionism and distortion.  

Rep. Tlaib stated that, “There's always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks 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, and some people's passports. I mean, just all of 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, right, and it was forced on them.”

As tens of thousands of Jews in Germany sought refuge from the infamous Nuremberg Laws and Nazi persecutions, including after the November 9th, 1938, Kristallnacht pogroms, Arab militias and mobs in Mandatory Palestine were attacking Jewish settlements and farms and killing Jewish residents.

The 1939 White Paper, which limited Jewish immigration to Palestine at the very moment when escape from Europe became an existential priority, was instituted to placate the Mandate’s Arab population, and led to the trapping of millions of Jews in Hitler’s Europe. Furthermore, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a key leader of the Arab population in Palestine, supported and collaborated with Hitler and assisted in recruiting Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS.  

The Arabs in Palestine during the Holocaust did not provide a safe haven for Jews, in fact they sided with the Axis powers. According to many experts, they expected that the eventual arrival of the Nazis and their allies would eliminate the Jewish presence.

The authenticity of history is vital, not only in ensuring a proper understanding of the past, as it provides guidance to the future.