Read our interview with Rep. Tlaib and our companion story about how local Jews are reacting to Tlaib’s primary campaign.
The Jewish News has indeed “done something” about Rashida Tlaib.
“When are you going to do something about Rashida Tlaib?”
The Jewish News receives some variation of this question from our readers about once a week. Usually it’s tied into something the Detroit Congresswoman has said or tweeted about Israel, but the message is always the same: We are Detroit’s Jewish publication of record. If a notable community figure has sparked a contentious national debate about Jews and Israel, it should be our responsibility to address this person in our pages.
Well, this week, on the occasion of her looming primary, new PBS documentary and various other news items involving her and her district, we have indeed “done something” about Rashida Tlaib. We have conducted our first-ever interview with her and prepared a separate feature about the local Jewish reaction to her.
I don’t know if this will fit every reader’s definition of “doing something” about a local member of Congress who expresses vocal support for the global BDS movement and isn’t shy about criticizing (some would say slandering) Israel on the national stage. But this fits my definition and the publication’s; the JN has been trying to talk to Rep. Tlaib since she assumed office in 2018. We often interview polarizing figures in these pages. Because this is what we do when we confront something difficult in our community. We talk about it.
I imagine this issue will spark some debate. I hope that debate can be respectful, and I hope to hear from you: We will run responses to the interview in an upcoming issue. One area where Rep. Tlaib and I are closely aligned is that it’s valuable to have conversations like this with people who may disagree with you, particularly when the matter at hand is so deeply intertwined with questions of religion and national identity.
We are living in a very challenging moment for Israel; for Detroit; for the Jewish people; and for the world at large. To survive as a people, we must be willing to talk: to each other and to others. After all, dialogue is a sacred Jewish value.
You can reach Andrew Lapin at email@example.com.