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A tearful Tlaib faces House in ‘From the river to the sea’ censure debate

“I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable,” the Michigan Democrat said.

A tearful Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Tuesday accused the U.S. government and U.S. President Joe Biden of dehumanizing Palestinians.

Wearing a keffiyeh during a debate to censure her for her statements about Israel’s war with Hamas, Tlaib claimed in a speech on the House floor that as the only Palestinian-American member of Congress she spoke for a majority of Americans in demanding a ceasefire.

“Do you realize what it’s like, Mr. Chair, for the people outside the chamber, right now, listening in agony to their own government dehumanizing them?” Tlaib said. “To hear the president of the United States we helped elect dispute death tolls as we see video after video of dead children and parents under rubble?”

“I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable,” Tlaib added.

Tlaib Omar
Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (right) consoles Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who tears up as she speaks on the House floor on Nov. 7, 2023. Credit: C-SPAN screenshot.

Having avoided censure in a separate vote on Wednesday, Tlaib posted a video on social media on Friday with the slogan “from the river to the sea” prompting two separate censure motions from Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R.-Ga.) that were introduced on Monday.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 70 members of Congress issued a statement describing that expression as a “rallying cry for the destruction of the State of Israel and genocide of the Jewish people.” The statement did not condemn Tlaib by name.

Tlaib defended the slogan in a follow-up post, claiming it was “an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence.”

At press time, the vote on whether to censure Tlaib was postponed in the House.

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