Days after Democrat Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were banned from entry to Israel, the Muslim congresswomen posted a political cartoon illustrated by an artist infamous for trivializing the Holocaust and comparing Jews to Nazis.
The cartoon posted by the freshmen lawmakers on Instagram depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu silencing Tlaib by covering her mouth alongside the Star of David and President Donald Trump doing the same to Omar.
“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,” Tlaib wrote in her caption.
The Jewish Daily Forward’s Batya Ungar-Sargon first highlighted the post, noting the illustration was drawn by Carlos Latuff, who has a reputation for regularly illustrating cartoons likening Israel to Nazis.
In 2006, Latuff won second place in an Iran Holocaust Cartoon contest for which he was awarded $8,000.
The cartoonist doubled down on his rebuke of Israel Sunday, following the ire Tlaib and Omar ignited around his bigoted drawings.
“Of course Israel isn’t building gas chambers in the West Bank, but surely we can find some similarities between the treatment given to Palestinians by the [Israel Defense Forces] and the Jews under Nazi rule,” Latuff told Forward.
Latuff insisted his cartoons “have no focus on the Jews or Judaism ,” but instead portray “Israel as a political identity.”
“It happens to be Israeli Jews that are the oppressors of Palestinians,” he said. “Of course you’ll have people hijacking the Palestinian struggle as a chance for bashing the Jews, like European neo-Nazis who demonstrate against the occupation of Palestinian territories or the Iraq War. It’s important for the left to keep them apart from the legitimate struggle for the rights of the Palestinians.”
The U.S. State Department modified its official definition of anti-Semitism earlier this month to now include “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of Nazis” as an example of anti-Semitism in public life.
The State Department modified the legislation after Tlaib and Omar proposed a resolution endorsing the right to boycott Israel, likening the boycott of the Jewish state to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Tlaib and Omar, who refer to themselves as members of the “Squad” that includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, were scheduled to visit Israel on Friday.
Initially, the Israeli government welcomed the Islamic lawmakers, disregarding the country’s 2017 legislation which outlaws visitation from individuals, like Omar and Tlaib, who support boycotts of the Jewish state.
A day before the first-term lawmakers were slated to depart to Israel, the nation’s Interior Minister Arye Deri decided to bar the congresswomen from entering the country.
Prime Minister Netanyahu supported the decision, issuing a statement that revealed a copy of Omar and Tlaib’s itinerary that was labeled as a trip to “Palestine” and not Israel.
The discrepancy indicates “the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it,” the Jewish head of state argued.
Tlaib repealed the ban, requesting in a formal letter to Deri that she be permitted in Israel on “humanitarian grounds” in order to visit relatives in the West Bank and see her 90-year old grandmother.
After Deri granted her request, Tlaib canceled her trip condemning Israel as a racist and oppressive nation.
“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” she said in a statement. “Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me — it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”
Through her actions, Tlaib demonstrated that as a Palestinian Muslim, her hatred for the Jews, Israel, and America is greater than her love for her own grandmother.
The words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir could not be more true today:
“Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us. We can forgive [them] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them from forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with [them] when they love their children more than they hate us.”
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