Civil Rights Groups Plan Demonstration Criticizing Anti-Muslim South Florida Lawmaker

Hallandale Beach Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub (left) and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Hallandale Beach Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub (left) and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib City of Hallandale Beach / Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons
Hallandale Beach Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub's career seems to be on thin ice, and for good reason. Earlier this month, she claimed Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to U.S. Congress, was a "Hamas-loving anti-Semite" who might one day "blow up the Capitol Building."

That was an obvious and absurdly racist statement about a woman of Palestinian descent. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Anti-Defamation League, and Hallandale Beach officials have all called the statement offensive. But last week, Lima-Taub stated on Facebook she was "unapologetic" before doubling down and erroneously comparing Tlaib's ideas to those of Adolf Hitler.

Now Lima-Taub will face a demonstration outside her door. Multiple South Florida civil- and immigrant-rights groups, including the Muslim-rights groups Emgage and the South Florida Muslim Federation, plan to hold a news conference in Hallandale Beach City Commission chambers Wednesday. The groups will demand that Lima-Taub apologize for her comments claiming, despite zero evidence, that Tlaib might bomb government buildings. Multiple other activist groups plan to attend. Among them are the Florida Immigrant Coalition, the New Florida Majority, the Jewish Voice for Peace, and Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism.

Ammar Ahmed, Emgage's South Florida director, says the groups plan to ask Lima-Taub to apologize and visit a local Muslim community center. (The South Florida Sun Sentinel first reported on the news conference earlier today.) "We're asking her to apologize for her comments saying that someone of the Muslim faith, someone whose family originates from the Middle-East, is capable of terrorism or doesn’t have allegiance to America or what’s best for America at her heart," he tells New Times. "This type of speech should not be coming from any officeholder." He adds that "we can have disagreements about policy" that but this "type of speech" is unacceptable.
Lima-Taub's rant almost certainly came about because of her disagreements with Tlaib over the state of Israel. Lima-Taub was born in the Jewish nation. Tlaib, meanwhile, is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. She says her grandfather was shot by Israeli soldiers during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Tlaib is, unquestionably, critical of the state of Israel and especially its treatment of Palestinians and other Arabs within its borders. But Lima-Taub's statements went much further than simply criticizing Tlaib's stance on Israel as a nation. Lima-Taub instead conflated criticism of Israel with criticism of Jews. Then she got outright racist by claiming Tlaib might be a terrorist in disguise.

Yet Lima-Taub is demanding that Tlaib apologize to her. "I remain unapologetic for my views that [Tlaib] is a danger to the peace process and demand an apology from her for relabeling Israel as Palestine on a map hanging on her wall in her Congressional office," Lima-Taub wrote earlier this month in response to the controversy.

The news conference is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. this Wednesday in the Hallandale Beach City Commission chambers, located at 400 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach. 
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.