DETROIT – Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib's comments about the Holocaust made during a podcast interview have sparked controversy around the state.
Her comments came in the context of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. At one point, she referenced the time immediately after the Holocaust.
"There's 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, have been wiped out," Tlaib said.
Critics immediately condemned her use of the word "calming" in any association with the Holocaust.
"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," Tlaib said.
She was asked if her support of a one-state solution is inflammatory.
"No," Tlaib said. "I'm coming from a place of love, for equality. Who doesn't want to be safe?"
"The congresswoman did not in any way praise the Holocaust, nor did she say the Holocaust itself brought a calming feeling to her," Tlaib's office said in a statement. "In fact, she repeatedly called the Holocaust a tragedy and a horrific persecution of Jewish people."
Professor Howard Lupovitch, the director of Judaic students at Wayne State University, said at the very least, he understands how her words could be taken as insensitive.
He said the unfortunate choice was to link the Holocaust with a current political situation. He said there's a lot of emotion in the issue, so words should be chosen carefully.