22 House Democrats Join GOP to Censure Rashida Tlaib Over Israel Criticism

“No government is beyond criticism. The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic [is] very dangerous," Tlaib said before the vote.

22 House Democrats Join GOP to Censure Rashida Tlaib Over Israel Criticism
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On Tuesday night, the House voted to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the only Palestinian-American in Congress, for her continued support of Palestine and her criticism of the Israeli government amid its ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The House voted 234 to 188, with 22 Democrats supporting the censure resolution and four Republicans voting against it.

“I will not be silenced and I will not let you distort my words,” Tlaib told her colleagues from the House floor on Tuesday before the vote. “No government is beyond criticism. The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent, and it’s been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.”

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) on Monday, and accused Tlaib of “promoting false narratives” about the conflict and “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”

Tlaib is only the 26th member of Congress in history to be censured, but the second member to be censured this year. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was censured by the Republican majority in June for comments he made about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

Last week, Tlaib tweeted a video calling for a ceasefire with clips of pro-Palestine demonstrations from across the country that included chants of, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Republicans immediately (and unsurprisingly) went after Tlaib, but the video also divided Democrats, with some calling on her to take it down, claiming the chant is antisemitic. (The Anti-Defamation League, which has gone after many critics of Israel’s violence following Hamas’s brutal attack on October 7, says the phrase is “denying the right of the State of Israel to exist.”)

A few hours later, Tlaib responded to her own post, clarifying that the chant is “an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate.” On Sunday Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), the state’s only Jewish representative, wrote on Twitter that the phrase is “counterproductive to promoting peace.”

“I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable. We are human beings, just like anyone else,” Tlaib said on Tuesday while holding up a photo of her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank. When she choked back tears during her speech, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) stood up to comfort Tlaib.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a separate censure motion on Monday saying that Tlaib led “an illegal occupation” of the Capitol when she attended an anti-war rally in mid-October. (Her first censure attempt—in which she called Tlaib’s attendance an “insurrection”—was blocked last week when all present Democrats and 23 Republicans voted to table it.)

Since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, leaving over 1,400 dead and kidnapping at least 200, Israel’s bombardment has killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza, according to the Gazan health ministry.

“It’s a shame my colleagues are more focused on silencing me than they are on saving lives, as the death toll in Gaza surpasses 10,000,” Tlaib wrote in a statement Tuesday morning. “Many of them have shown me that Palestinian lives simply do not matter to them, but I still do not police their rhetoric or actions. Rather than acknowledge the voice and perspective of the only Palestinian American in Congress, my colleagues have resorted to distorting my positions in resolutions filled with obvious lies.”

“Meanwhile, each day that passes without a ceasefire brings more death and destruction upon innocent civilians, who have nowhere safe to go, drawing outrage and condemnation from the American people and the international community,” she continued.

Tlaib’s call for a ceasefire is a popular position with the American people. Data for Progress found that a majority of Americans support a “ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza.” Eighty percent of Democrats, 57 percent of Independents, and even 56 percent of Republicans say they support a ceasefire.

“I will continue to call for a mutual ceasefire, for the release of hostages and those arbitrarily detained, for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid, and for every American to be brought home,” Tlaib said in her Tuesday morning statement. “I will continue to work for a just and lasting peace that upholds the human rights and dignity of all people, centers peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, and ensures that no person, no child has to suffer or live in fear of violence.”

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