Column: American Nakba

A new play to top the absurdity of “Springtime for Hitler”: “Rashida Resurrects the Nakba Legacy.”

Leave it to Rep.Rashida Tlaib to inspire a play that ennobles and validates the Arab failure to massacre Israel’s Jews 74 years ago – through America’s Congress.

So on Monday, May 16, Tlaib introduced House Resolution 1123 entitled “Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian Refugee’s Rights…in commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the Nakba this past Sunday (May 15).” The bill was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Relations which should laugh the bill out of Capitol Hill if the other committee members are reasonably sane.

Thankfully, a Los Angeles Congressman assures Jewish Insider that most of his fellow members of Congress are indeed reasonably sane. Says Rep. Bradley Sherman, “The vast majority of my colleagues in Congress and in the House Foreign Affairs Committee understand that the historical narrative in Congresswoman Tlaib’s resolution is an outrageous falsehood and thus this bill isn’t likely to be passed or even considered.”

The Nakba is known as the Catastrophe of 1948 when Arab forces ignored a United Nations compromise, swarmed into Israel to destroy the new nation at its birth, provoked the exodus of hundreds of thousands of their own kind and ended up leaving the Jews with 78 percent of the land. In Rashida Tlaib’s mind, that makes the Palestinians the victims.

When I learned of the Tlaib bill courtesy of the HonestReporting organization, I thought of Mel Brooks, whose sick mind is yet exceeded by those like Tlaib. It was her kind of mindset that inspired “The Producers,” which Brooks wrote and directed. The 1967 film features “Springtime for Hitler,” a musical play within the movie written by closeted Nazi Franz Liebkind who revels at the opportunity to tell the world about the real Hitler we know and love, the Hitler who can dance better than Churchill.

Rashida would have made a suitable dance partner for Adolf. Who else would create national legislation to mourn a monumental attempt to drive the Jews into the sea? Incidentally, Hitler planned to decimate the Jews of Palestine (as the land was then known) if his forces had succeeded in their blitzkrieg through northern Africa. British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery stopped them at El Alamein.

Tlaib, who represents part of Detroit, was joined by co-sponsors Ilhan Omar, Minneapolis; Betty McCollum, St. Paul, Minn.; Marie Newman, Illinois; Cori Bush, St. Louis; and New Yorkers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a.k.a. AOC) and Jamaal Bowman. It takes conviction – a misguided kind – for Bowman to co-sponsor the bill because his congressional district has been moved. No surprise if Bowman’s mixed record on Israel becomes a campaign issue during the Democratic primary. How many of his new constituents mourn the Nakba?

Both Omar and Tlaib are Muslims. Tlaib was born in Michigan, but her parents emigrated there from Israel’s eastern territory, commonly known as the West Bank. Omar is a refugee from Somalia.

What the Rashida bill officially states is a mystery because no text summary has been prepared. In a news release marked by some misspellings, Tlaib says, “This Sunday was a day of solemn remembrance of all the lives lost, families displaced, and neighborhoods destroyed during the violent and horror of the Nakba.

“The scars bourn by the close to 800,000 Palestinians who were forced from their family homes and their communities, and those killed are burned into the souls of the people who lived through the Nakba,” she continued. “As the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh last week made all too clear, the violence and war crimes are an ongoing and ever-present assault on the existence and humanity of the Palestinian people.”

Who forced 800,000 Palestinians from their homes? What war crimes? As for Aklah’s death two weeks ago, no conclusions have been reached. The Palestinian Authority refuses to allow Israel to inspect the bullet that killed Akleh, a journalist for Al Jazeera. It appears to be the only way to determine whether an Israeli soldier or a Palestinian terrorist shot her.

More of the usual lies follow in her news release: “The Israeli apartheid government’s ongoing ethnic cleansing seeks to degrade Palestinian humanity and break the will of the people to be free. Fortunately, as Palestinians and their allies prove time and time again, we will persist no matter the circumstances until peace, freedom, equity and respect for all people are secured and protected.”

More of the usual facts: The Palestinians rejected a solid proposal for an independent state 22 years ago. With 19 Israelis and others murdered in the last two months, who is doing the ethnic cleansing? How is Israel an apartheid state?

As Jewish Insider reports, Aaron David Miller, who advised multiple secretaries of state on the Middle East, says that the legislation asks Congress to “wade into the intricacies and volatility of some of the most combustible issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and essentially recognize a narrative. This legislation is packed with landmines and traps. The whole issue of right of return is an issue that for years in negotiations we realized was the most combustible, most complicated and the one which we had the least chance of resolving.”

Sherman, the Los Angeles congressman, said the Tlaib bill as “predicated on a demonstrably false historical narrative…predictably failing to mention the hundreds of attacks on Jewish communities in the British mandate of Palestine by Palestinian militias.”

A facebook friend who calls himself Tel Dan compared the Rashida bill to the Marx Brothers’ “A Day at the Races” by suggesting the title “A Night at the Nakba.” It is a title that I wish I had thought of.

If such a play is ever produced, we must find an actor whose portrayal of Rashida matches that of Dick Shawn’s masterful job playing a hippie Hitler. We likewise need a showstopping song as memorable as “Springtime for Hitler.”

Rashida and her friends in Congress must wonder why their domestic agenda cannot advance. Why should their mindless anti-Israel rants and obnoxious approach on other issues move people to dismiss anything else they have to say?

If they had earned respect from the public, maybe their Build Back Better plan which helps the most vulnerable among us would have stood a better chance of passage. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, had free rein – meaning no robust political opposition – when they refused to help Democratic leaders with the Build Back Better bill.

That was a Nakba day for the American people – self-inflicted by the poor population’s champions…oh, sorry, a term like self-inflicted Nakba would be repetitive.

We need to remember Nov. 6, 2018, the day that Tlaib, Ilhan and AOC were elected to Congress. That is my Nakba day.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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