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Friday, January 4, 2019

Israel and the New Congress

Before it folded last month, The Weekly Standard editorialized:
Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said she won’t attend a freshman congressional trip to Israel, and instead will lead a delegation to the West Bank. Tlaib alternately expresses support for a “two-state solution” and a “one-state-solution”—the latter being code for the obliteration of the Jewish state. Representative-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) will join her. Omar, who regularly refers to the Israeli state’s policy of “apartheid,” famously remarked on Twitter that Israel has “hypnotized the world.” Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), similarly, announced yesterday that she also won’t participate in the trip to Israel, which is sponsored by a non-profit.

From the Jewish News Syndicate:

Even before she was sworn in on Thursday—the ceremony of which was attended by Women’s March leader and anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, who has been criticized for not condemning her ties with anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan—Tlaib endorsed the BDS movement..[Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions]
On Wednesday, Yair Rosenberg wrote at WP that Tlaib would be taking the oath of office on Jefferson's Koran.
One of the country’s first two Muslim congresswomen elected, both elected in November, Tlaib said she hoped to make a critical point with the choice of tome. “It’s important to me because a lot of Americans have this kind of feeling that Islam is somehow foreign to American history,” she told the Detroit Free Press. "Muslims were there at the beginning.”
Longtime Congress watchers will recall Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), America’s first Muslim member of the body, also used Jefferson’s Koran for his 2007 swearing-in. "It demonstrates that from the very beginning of our country, we had people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Koran,” Ellison told the Associated Press at the time.

These are worthy sentiments. But they are also not the whole story. That is because Jefferson’s 1734 translation of the Koran was not produced out of a special love for Islam, but rather to further Christian missionary efforts in Muslim lands. As translator George Sale wrote in his introduction to the reader, “Whatever use an impartial version of the Korân may be of in other respects, it is absolutely necessary to undeceive those who, from the ignorant or unfair translations which have appeared, have entertained too favourable an opinion of the original, and also to enable us effectually to expose the imposture.”