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House votes to censure Tlaib over Israel-Hamas statements

“Rashida will stand strong, and the Palestinian movement will continue for liberation until every single Palestinian has the right to live in liberty,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Final tally in U.S. House of Representatives censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Nov. 7, 2023. Source: C-SPAN/screenshot.
Final tally in U.S. House of Representatives censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Nov. 7, 2023. Source: C-SPAN/screenshot.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday night to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for “promoting false narratives” and “calling for the destruction of the State of Israel” in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks.

The 234-188 vote included 22 Democrats voting for censure and four Republicans voting against. A House censure is a symbolic statement of condemnation.

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) was one of the Democrats who crossed party lines to censure Tlaib. The Jewish congressman voted for the resolution due to Tlaib’s “blood libel,” claiming Israel was responsible for an explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and her promotion of the phrase “from the river to the sea” calling for Israel’s destruction.

“I recognize this censure resolution is not a perfect resolution in its language or form, but unfortunately it is the only vehicle available to formally rebuke the dangerous disinformation and aspersions that Rep. Tlaib continues to use and defend,” Schneider stated. “I feel that I have no other recourse but to vote to censure her.”

Tlaib avoided censure in a previous motion, which Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced, accusing Tlaib of supporting “insurrection” after she spoke at a pro-Palestinian protest at the U.S. Capitol complex. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tx.), one of 23 Republicans who voted against that resolution on Nov. 1, said that it was “deeply flawed and made legally and factually unverified claims,” citing the “insurrection” clause as one example.

After Tlaib posted a video on Friday promoting the phrase, “From the river to the sea,” and accusing U.S. President Joe Biden of supporting “genocide” against the Palestinians, Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) introduced a more narrowly tailored censure resolution condemning her statements.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 70 members of Congress issued a statement describing the expression, “From the river to the sea,” 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, though many of its signatories voted to censure her on Tuesday.

‘Because of your lack of diversity’

In a statement on Monday, Tlaib claimed that she has “repeatedly” denounced Hamas, though her first statement on Oct. 8 in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,400 people did not mention the terrorist group by name and said that Israeli “occupation” and “apartheid … can lead to resistance.”

On Tuesday, Tlaib made a tearful defense of her statements on the House floor, claiming that she spoke for a majority of Americans who want a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

“Trying to bully or censor me won’t work because this movement for a ceasefire is much bigger than one person,” Tlaib said. “It’s growing every single day.”

Several of Omar’s fellow members of the so-called “Squad” of left-wing progressives accused supporters of the censure resolution of racial bias.

“People in this House speak when they don’t realize or don’t care that they put targets on the backs of actual people, most of whom are black and brown,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.).

“It’s outrageous that my colleagues are blatantly attempting to silence the only Palestinian-American representative right here,” she added. “It’s outrageous, but it’s not surprising. And let me tell you, it’s not surprising because this place is where 1,700 members of Congress, this elected body, enslaved black people.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said during the debate that Tlaib “does not want to kill Jews” and that Republicans lack the requisite diversity to understand the viewpoint of the only Palestinian-American in Congress.

“This body needs empathy and compassion for all people, not just people that look like the majority of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” Bowman said. “And maybe because of your lack of diversity, you lack the cognitive and emotional ability to recognize diverse opinions when they speak truth to power.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who was expelled from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in February for her comments about Israel, said during the debate that censure would not stop Tlaib’s advocacy for the Palestinian cause.

“Rashida will stand strong, and the Palestinian movement will continue for liberation until every single Palestinian has the right to live in liberty,” she said.

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