Monday, February 11, 2019

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Wrote For Louis Farrakhan's Publication In 2006

Note: Updated w/ Rep. Tlaib's response at the bottom.

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   Rashida Tlaib was elected to Congress in 2018 and has quickly become a lightning rod for her criticism of Israel and her associations with Palestinian activists, at least one of whom has compared Zionism to Naziism. Tlaib recently told the New York Times regarding her support for such Palestinians, "respect for free speech does not equate to anti-Semitism."
   When Tlaib worked for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Detroit in 2006, she wrote an article for Louis Farrakhan's publication The Final Call:

   The article appears to have been written specifically for The Final Call; an online search did not turn up any evidence of the article elsewhere. The article is entitled "Bills must stop deportations for minor offenses" and addressed the problem of legal immigrants deported for technicalities and other relatively minor issues. The author bio included with the article reads "(Rashida Tlaib, advocacy coordinator of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Detroit.)"
   In January, Tlaib was criticized for tweeting "They forgot what country they represent" about lawmakers who support legislation to oppose the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement targeting Israel:

   Rep. Tlaib insists her criticism of the government of Israel and its supporters has nothing in common with anti-Semitism.
   Though there is no indication The Final Call or Farrakhan explicitly endorsed Tlaib as a candidate, Askia Muhammad (the photojournalist who took the now-infamous Barack Obama-Louis Farrakhan photo) wrote an August 2018 article for the Final Call regarding Tlaib's uncontested win of Rep. John Conyers old seat. Askia wrote:
Ms. Tlaib’s victory carries perhaps, the most significance. “She ran on a very progressive agenda. She didn’t bite her tongue, at all,” said Dr. Lusane. Hers “will be an important voice, not just because of her background, but because of the policies that she’s advocated, from increasing the minimum wage, and the peace agenda. It will be great, I think.
“I would suspect that former Representative Conyers would actually be very happy that someone’s coming to take his place who really will represent not only the politics that he advocated for decades, but bring in that additional perspective and experience of being of Palestinian ancestry,” said Dr. Lusane.
Conyers is one the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus and maintained a public relationship with Farrakhan as late as 2015.
   When I asked Rep. Tlaib's office for a comment on having written for Farrakhan in 2006 and whether she has maintained any connection with Farrakhan in the interim, I received no response.

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Related: I have written in depth at the Wall Street Journal and National Review Online and the about the connections numerous Democrats have (including current leadership in the House) to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In 2005, twenty or so members of the Congressional Black Caucus posed for a photo (via The Final Call) with Louis Farrakhan when he was invited to address the CBC at the Capitol. Though some members have explicitly distanced themselves from Farrakhan in recent years, others have remained silent, and the CBC as an organization has likewise remained silent. (Rep. Tlaib has not joined the CBC.)

Photo: Kenneth Muhammad via The FInal Call
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UPDATE (6:00 PM, 2/11/19): While I did not get a response from Rep. Tlaib's office before I ran the story, a spokesperson told Joe Perticone of Businessinsider: "The piece was from 2006 and was not an endorsement of Farrakhan or anyone for that matter. The Congresswoman has not had any direct contact with Farrakhan and condemns his anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ views."