Rashida Tlaib addresses Holocaust comments with Seth Meyers

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMichigan city declines to renew contract with ICE to hold detainees Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Mich.) on Monday clarified past comments she made about the Holocaust and support for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while appearing on "The Late Show" with Seth Meyers. 

The Michigan Democrat noted her personal connection to the conflict, saying her grandmother lives in the West Bank and recognized that Israel was created to help Jewish people after the Holocaust. 

“The tragedy of the Holocaust, the reason why Israel was created, was to create a safe haven for Jews around the world,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“My ancestors, many had died or had to give up their livelihoods, their human dignity to provide a safe haven for Jews around the world and that is something that I wanted to recognize and kind of honor in some sort of way but I also think it’s important because I want Palestinians to find some sort of light in this kind of what’s happening,” she added.  

Tlaib also said in the interview that she wanted "all of us to feel safe."

"All of us deserve human dignity no matter our backgrounds, no matter our ethnicity, no matter even our political views," she said. 

She also told Meyers that she had received a text message from a friend who told her next time to talk “like a fourth grader because maybe the racist idiots will understand you better,” referencing some Republican and right-wing figures who took offense to her original remarks. 

Meyers said maybe history from that part of the world should be discussed on a fourth grade level because a lot of people don’t understand it. He called the suggestion that Tlaib was calmed by the Holocaust a “bad faith argument.”

Tlaib said later in the interview that instead of taking sides, people should come to these issues from a place of values. 

She stroked controversy after discussing the Holocaust and Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an interview published Saturday on Yahoo News’s “Skullduggery” podcast.

When asked about her thoughts on the conflict, Tlaib noted that that the United States commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day two weeks ago.

She said she was “humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer” to create a safe haven for the Jewish people.

"There’s, you know, there’s a kind of a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence, in many ways, had been wiped out," the freshman lawmaker said. "I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time."

“I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that [safe haven], in many ways," she continued. “But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them. And so, when I think about one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?”

Conservatives criticized her use of the phrase "calming feeling," implying Tlaib was describing her feelings about the Holocaust itself using that wording.