House Censures Rashida Tlaib Over Anti-Israel Rhetoric

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
November 7, 2023Congress
House Censures Rashida Tlaib Over Anti-Israel Rhetoric
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speaks at a news conference on the introduction of the "Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights" outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Sept. 19, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The House of Representatives censured Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Nov. 7, accusing her of antisemitic rhetoric amid the war between the Jewish state of Israel and the terrorist group Hamas.

The final tally was 234-188, with four members voting “present.” Twenty-two Democrats joined 212 Republicans in voting for the resolution, while four Republicans joined 184 Democrats in voting against it.

A motion to table the resolution put forth by House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) was rejected in a vote of 208–213, with one member voting “present.”

The measure was privileged and therefore Congress had to vote on it within two days of introduction.

The final vote had been scheduled for Nov. 8, but was rescheduled following alleged threats against staffers at a district office of Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), who introduced the resolution.

The congressman’s communications director, Julie Singleton, declined to tell The Epoch Times whether the threats were related to the resolution, but said that all staffers are safe and the threats are under investigation by Capitol Police and local law enforcement.

The resolution, introduced on Nov. 6 and obtained by The Epoch Times, censured Ms. Tlaib for “promoting false narratives” surrounding the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, which resulted in the greatest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. The resolution noted that Ms. Tlaib said the attacks were “resistance” to “apartheid.”

Israel is not an apartheid state as all of its citizens have equal rights. Palestinians outside of Gaza are under the Palestinian Authority, whose human rights record has come under fire, while Palestinians in Gaza are under Hamas.

During debate on the House floor following the rejection of the motion to table, Ms. Tlaib, wearing a keffiyeh scarf, a common Palestinian headdress, emotionally defended herself, saying that no government is above reproach. The Michigan lawmaker, the first woman of Palestinian descent to serve in Congress, remarked that Palestinian lives matter.

“I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable,” she said, followed by a pause. She appeared to struggle to maintain her composure and was comforted by Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the latter of whom has also made controversial remarks criticizing Israel.

“We are human beings just like anyone else,” Ms. Tlaib said, showing a picture of her grandmother, who is Palestinian. “Like all Palestinians, [she] just wants to live her life with freedom and human dignity we all deserve.”

In his speech on the House floor, Mr. McCormick decried antisemitism, accusing Ms. Tlaib of being behind the hatred toward Jews and Israel in Congress.

“The same nation that defeated Nazism in World War II must now defeat an internal rot promoting the same senseless violence and hatred of Jewish people,” he said.

“It is a sad fact that this type of antisemitic hate is being promoted by a small group of members in this body, chiefly Rep. Tlaib,’ he continued. “We must hold her accountable.”

Other Details of Resolution

The resolution called out Ms. Tlaib’s post on X, formerly Twitter, which echoed Hamas’ claim that blamed Israel for the Oct. 17 bombing of a hospital in Gaza. The United States has independently concluded that it was a misfire by Palestinian terrorists that resulted in the explosion and caused Gazan deaths. Ms. Tlaib has not deleted the post.

The censure measure also mentioned Ms. Tlaib defending the phrase “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”—a call for Israel to be wiped off the map.

“From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate. My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity,” she posted on X on Nov. 3.

Mr. McCormick’s resolution to censure Ms. Tlaib differed from the one introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), which The Epoch Times also obtained.

Whereas Mr. McCormick’s focused on Ms. Tlaib’s statements during the latest Hamas-Israel conflict, Ms. Greene’s included an extensive history of Ms. Tlaib’s past comments about Jews and Israel, not just her defense of the “from the river to the sea” chant and other rhetoric during the war.

In January 2019, shortly after being sworn into Congress for the first time, Ms. Tlaib criticized the Senate for taking up legislation against the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, and sanctions,” or BDS movement, which Ms. Tlaib supports.

The bill passed the Senate amid a U.S. government shutdown. Her post on Twitter, now called X, echoed the antisemitic trope of dual loyalty—that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the country where they live.

“They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away,” Ms. Tlaib posted.

During a podcast interview in May 2019, she said that the Holocaust gave her a “calming feeling.” Ms. Tlaib responded to critics at the time by saying that when she said “calming feeling,” she was referring to the idea that her ancestors provided a “safe haven” for Jews after the Holocaust, and not referring to the Holocaust itself.

Previous Attempts to Censure

Ms. Tlaib is the 26th House member to be censured.

Last week, a resolution introduced by Ms. Greene to censure Ms. Tlaib was tabled, with 23 Republicans joining 199 Democrats in doing so.

That resolution was similar to her latest version, but in the first version, Ms. Greene notably accused Ms. Tlaib of “leading an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex.”

The “insurrection” claim was in relation to Ms. Tlaib addressing activists with the anti-Israel groups “IfNotNow” and “Jewish Voice for Peace” outside the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 18. The activists later stormed and held a sit-in at the Cannon House Office Building, calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Hundreds were arrested by Capitol Police for crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.

“I wish all the Palestinian people would see this. I wish they could see that not all of America want them to die. That they are not disposable, that they have a right to live,” said Ms. Tlaib at the rally.

Additionally, Ms. Greene’s latest resolution did not mention Ms. Tlaib’s post on X blaming Israel for the Oct. 17 bombing of the Gaza hospital. Ms. Greene’s tabled censure resolution was introduced before the explosion.

Finally, unlike Mr. McCormick’s resolution, Ms. Greene’s would require Ms. Tlaib to go to the well of the House floor for a formal rebuke.

From The Epoch Times

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