Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib faced a firestorm of criticism on Sunday after retweeting a false assertion on the micro-blogging website accusing Jews of murdering a Palestinian child in Jerusalem, with critics describing the claim as a “blood libel.”
Eight-year-old Qais Abu Ramila was found dead on Saturday in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood after being missing for several hours. Authorities have concluded that Ramila died of accidental drowning in a reservoir swollen by recent rainstorms.
Rumors swirled, however, that he had been kidnapped and murdered by Jewish “settlers,” causing clashes with police when a mob of rock throwers attempted to invade an adjoining Jewish neighborhood.
Veteran Palestinian official and legislator Hanan Ashwari tweeted an accusation that Ramila had been killed by Jews, which was then retweeted by Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American. Originally from the account “realSeifBitar,” the tweet claimed Ramila was “kidnapped by a Herd of violent Israeli settlers, assaulted, and thrown in a water well.”
Ashwari later apologized for the unfounded accusation. Tlaib deleted the offending tweet but has not apologized thus far.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Tlaib’s tweet by saying, “This is an example of how the blood libel works in 2020.”
“@RashidaTlaib retweets a vicious lie steeped in centuries-old accusations used to demonize Jews, then says nothing when it’s disproven,” he asserted. “An apology is overdue.”
Israel’s Consul General in New York Dani Dayan also slammed Tlaib, tweeting, “I am always extremely cautious in criticizing US elected officials. However when an American elected official retweets an unfounded blood libel against Jewish Israelis, I cannot remain silent. Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib just did.”
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has been outspoken on the subject of antisemitism in the Democratic party, said, “@RashidaTlaib again indulges in vile antisemitism and promotes a modern day blood libel against Jews!”
“Where’s the Democrats’ outrage?!” he asked.
Referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s frequent references to his last name being derived from the Hebrew word for “guard” or “watchman,” Hikind asked, “Where’s Chuck ‘watcher of Jews’ Schumer to condemn these libelous calls to pointless violence?!”
“They’re all complicit!” he asserted.
This is not the first time Tlaib has been involved in a “blood libel” scandal. Last year Tlaib was banned from visiting Israel, after which it was discovered that her visit had been arranged by the organization Miftah, which Business Insider revealed has praised suicide bombers, reprinted neo-Nazi literature, and claimed Jews consume the blood of Christians as a Passover ritual — the historic blood libel which was common during the Middle Ages.
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Author: Benjamin Kerstein
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