After implying that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is antisemitic on Twitter, CNN’s Jake Tapper is now being slammed for his bad faith comments. Following news about President-elect Joe Biden appointing Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State, Tlaib tweeted her concerns about the politician’s stance on Israel — and the potential that her criticisms of Netanyahu would be squashed.
When it was announced that Blinken was Biden’s pick for the cabinet position, Faiz Shakir, Bernie Sanders’ former campaign manager, tweeted that he’s a “solid choice.” In response, Tlaib quote-tweeted her remark, saying, “So long as he doesn't suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against Netanyahu's racist and inhumane policies. The Palestinian people deserve equality and justice.”
Tlaib’s reply referred to the Israeli Prime Minister’s response to the humanitarian movement in Palestine. The next day, she further clarified what she meant: “Sec. Pompeo has moved to suppress BDS [Boycott, Divest and Sanctions], a peaceful protest movement protected by the 1st Amendment. I hope that Mr. Blinken and President-elect Biden’s Administration will change course from Trump’s State Department & not target or suppress support of Palestinian human rights.”
However, Tapper weighed in on her first comment in a now-deleted retweet of Tlaib, saying, “[What] is it about Secretary of State–nominee Blinken that he makes the Congresswoman think that he would try to suppress her views about the Prime Minister of Israel? Hmmm.” The tweet clearly insinuated that Tlaib was uneasy about Blinken being Jewish, as opposed to the power he’ll soon wield over foreign relations.
Shortly after he was called out for implying Tlaib’s comments were antisemitic, Tapper deleted the tweet. Then, he rewrote it: "Blinken and Biden are both on the record opposing efforts to punish/sanction BDS (though they also oppose BDS) so I’m not sure what it is about Blinken that would prompt this tweet."
Still, his first tweets gained too much attention before being taken down for the targeted attack on Tlaib. “It says a lot that someone with your level of bigoted hatred can not only succeed at a place like CNN but be celebrated by liberals around the country. I guess targeting your racism and hate at Muslims makes it okay,” tweeted journalist Eoin Higgins. Many leveled criticisms at Tapper for targeting Tlaib for being a Muslim, and clearly misrepresenting and misunderstanding her original tweets about Israel on purpose.
As a Palestinian-American, Tlaib has often held the Israeli government accountable for occupying Palestine, and has advocated for the United States to end its aid to the country. In addition to this criticism, she’s often expressed support for the BDS movement there: She was also one of 17 members of Congress to vote against a resolution that would condemn BDS.
Despite all of this, Tlaib has consistently been labeled antisemitic for her concerns around Israel and Israeli leadership. But she's continued to explain that she has nothing against Israeli people themselves, only the effect that the Israeli government has had on Palestinians. As of publication, Jake Tapper has not yet issued an apology to Tlaib for his insinuations, and she has not responded to or acknowledged his statements — though many have come to her defense to point out the true meaning of her concerns.