US House censures Rashida Tlaib over pro-Palestinians comments

AFP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 8 Nov 2023

The US House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to censure Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, over her comments in which she condemned the Israeli war on Gaza that killed so far more than 10,300 Palestinians.

FILE- US Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on July 15, 2019. AFP


The Democrat was censured by Republicans and some members of her own party in a resolution that passed by 234 votes to 188.

The resolution claimed Tlaib was "promoting false narratives" regarding the 7 October, Hamas operation on Israel and "for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel."

The censure identified statements made by Tlaib, including a video posted on social media in which she accuses President Joe Biden of supporting what she described as the "genocide" of Palestinians and calling on him to back a ceasefire, according to the text of the motion.

The video also shows a crowd chanting "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," which the motion claimed " is a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel."

Tlaib had said on X, formerly known as Twitter: "From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate".

In an emotional during the debate, she said "the cries of the Palestinian and Israeli children sound the same to me."

"Do you realize what it’s like for the people outside our chamber listening to our own government dehumanize them?" she added as she clutched a photo of her grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank.

"I can’t believe I have to say this but Palestinian people are not disposable. We are human beings just like anyone else."

"No government is beyond criticism. The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is anti-Semitic sets a very dangerous precedent, and it's been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation," she said.


“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. Many of them have shown me that Palestinian lives simply do not matter to them," she said. 

She further added that "a majority of Americans support a ceasefire, but this Congress isn’t listening to their voices."

The censure vote against Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American representative in Congress, comes as Democrats have been divided over the Biden administration’s response to Israel's war on Gaza.

While most of the party’s lawmakers back the White House policy of supporting Israel’s military response while calling for “tactical pauses” in the fighting, a group of progressive lawmakers, including Tlaib, have pushed for a ceasefire in the blockaded enclave.

More than 10,300 people have been killed by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, where the United Nations and rights groups warn of a growing humanitarian crisis.

A censure does not equal an expulsion from the House but carries more weight than a reprimand.

It was the second time in two weeks Tlaib has faced formal disapproval over her criticism of Israel.

Last week, Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene brought forward a more strongly worded resolution against Tlaib, which was blocked by the House, CNN reported.

Tlaib is part of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, which includes representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley.

Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were elected as the first US Muslim congresswomen.

In February, House Republicans removed Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar, a Democratic ally of Tlaib, from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over previous critical comments she had made about Israel.

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