Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan on Friday accused President Joe Biden of supporting a Palestinian “genocide” and warned that Americans will remember when he’s up for reelection next year how he responded to the Israel-Hamas war.
In a video posted to X, Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress, urged Biden to call for a ceasefire in the conflict – something the president and his administration has so far not done.
“Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one,” Tlaib said in the video, adding, “We will remember in 2024.”
The video – which features images of protests with chants of “Free Palestine” and ‘From the river to the sea” across Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and New York – ends with text that states: “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people,” “The American people won’t forget,” “Biden, support the ceasefire now,” and “Or don’t count on us in 2024.”
The White House declined to comment on the video. CNN has also reached out to Tlaib’s office.
Tlaib, a longtime advocate for Palestinian rights, has been the most outspoken critic of Israel in Congress since her election in 2018. In recent weeks, she has roiled some of her colleagues determined to present a united front amid the Israel-Hamas war as divisions have grown more personal.
Tlaib did not directly condemn Hamas in her statement the day after the Palestinian militant group launched surprise cross-border raids from Gaza on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people and taking hundreds of hostages.
“I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day. I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity,” she said in part, adding, “The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance. The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer.”
The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted after World War II, defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Biden has before said that the atrocities being uncovered in Ukraine as Russia continues its invasion qualify as “genocide” – but that declaration last year didn’t trigger any immediate changes to American policy toward the conflict.
Biden has resisted calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, including at the United Nations, and instead has said he supports so-called humanitarian pauses to allow for the release of hostages held there. Israel has a “responsibility,” the US president has said, to defend its citizens from terrorism. Neither he nor anyone in his administration has come close to criticizing how Israel is conducting its offensive.
The congresswoman recently faced a GOP-led resolution to censure her over comments critical of Israel and in support of Palestinians.
The House ultimately tabled the resolution, introduced by GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, earlier this week, but it cited a protest on October 18 in the rotunda of the Cannon House office building where activists called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Demonstrations are not allowed inside congressional office buildings.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN that Tlaib was not present at the protest in the Cannon building, but the congresswoman spoke at a rally in support of a ceasefire that took place outside of the Capitol that day.
Responding to the censure resolution, Tlaib said in a statement, “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s unhinged resolution is deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates. I am proud to stand in solidarity with Jewish peace advocates calling for a ceasefire and an end to the violence. I will not be bullied, I will not be dehumanized, and I will not be silenced. I will continue to call for ceasefire, for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid, for the release of hostages and those arbitrarily detained, and for every American to be brought home.”
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
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