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Tlaib Says People “Behind the Curtain” Exploit Palestinians, Americans and ADL CEO Cites “Antisemitic Dogwhistling”

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August 3, 2021
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) speaks during a press conference preceding a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 10, 2019 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt accused Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) of “antisemitic dogwhistling” for saying that there are people “behind the curtain” who are exploiting Palestinians and Americans.

Greenblatt tweeted out a video of Tlaib speaking during the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) 2021 National Convention on August 1. Tlaib said, “As I think about my family in Palestine, that continue to live under military occupation and how that really interacts with this beautiful Black city I grew up in … you know I always tell people that cutting people off from water is violence, and they do it from Gaza to Detroit, and it’s a way to control people, to oppress people. And it’s those structures that we continue to fight against.”

She added that the “structure we’ve been living under right now is designed by those that exploit the rest of us for their own profit. I always say to people, you know I don’t care if it’s the issue around global human rights and our fight to free Palestine, or pushing back against those that don’t believe in a minimum wage, or those that believe that people have a right to healthcare … and I tell those same people, that if you open the curtain and look behind the curtain, it’s the same people that make money, and yes they do, off of racism. There is someone there making money.” 

Tlaib claimed that people were making “record profit” during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic “exposed what we’ve all been fighting against.”

Greenblatt tweeted, “Stunning to hear @RashidaTlaib claim ‘behind the curtain,’ those who prevent a ‘free Palestine are the ‘same people’ who exploit ‘regular Americans.’ We’ve heard this kind of ugly #antisemitic dog whistling before, but it’s appalling when it comes from a member of Congress.”

Other Jewish groups also denounced Tlaib’s remarks.

“Tlaib continues to spew venomous hatred of Israel, Jewish people and America deploying classic antisemitic tropes during [the] pandemic to poison relations between neighbors,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda, said in a statement to the Journal. He added that while Tlaib is “protected from litigation by Congressional status … Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi (D-CA) can and must remove her from committees.”

Stop Antisemitism Executive Director Liora Rez similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “This obscene rhetoric is par for the course for Tlaib. Thankfully others are now speaking out so we can work together to stop her constant slander of the Jewish people.”

Tlaib’s office did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

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