Rep. Rashida Tlaib retweeted then removed a tweet falsely blaming Israelis for the death of a Palestinian child.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American who is a Michigan Democrat and one of only two lawmakers to back the boycott Israel movement, retweeted a tweet by Hanan Ashrawi, a top Palestinian official, who was quote-tweeting an account, realSeifBitar, that accused Israeli settlers of kidnapping, assaulting and throwing into a well an eight-year-old child. “The heart just shatters,” Ashrawi said.
In fact the boy, Qais Abu Ramila, appears to have drowned accidentally in a reservoir of rainwater in eastern Jerusalem. Israeli first responders found him on Saturday and tried to revive him.
Tlaib removed her retweet, and Ashrawi eventually apologized for “retweeting something that’s not fully verified.” Tlaib did not retweet the retraction.
My apologies for retweeting something that’s not fully verified. It seems that the news of his being kidnapped is not certain.
— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) January 25, 2020
Dani Dayan, the Israeli consul general in New York, took Tlaib to task for spreading what he called a “blood libel.”
“I am always extremely cautious in criticizing US elected officials,” Dayan said on Twitter. “However, when an American elected official retweets an unfounded blood libel against Jewish Israelis, I cannot remain silent. Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib just did.”
Abu Ramila had apparently slipped into and drowned in the pond, formed after days of rain in the city’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, police sources said.
His family initially said he was kidnapped while going to a convenience store, but later reversed that claim, according to the Haaretz daily.
After his body was found, his father castigated the Jerusalem municipality for not sealing off the area around the pond.
Clashes broke out after Beit Hanina residents searching for Abu Ramila tried to enter a nearby Jewish neighborhood, believing residents there had kidnapped the boy. Residents were blocked from entering Neve Yaakov, and some of the demonstrators threw rocks at police.
Some 12 demonstrators were lightly injured in scuffles with police and officers arrested three of the protesters for disturbing public order.