House members voted 234-188 on Tuesday to censure Tlaib after the Palestinian American Democrat was accused of taking an antisemitic stance on the Israel-Hamas war
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib has been censured by the U.S. House of Representatives after the Democrat made remarks about the Israel-Hamas war in a video that some called antisemitic.
House members approved the censure in a 234-188 vote on Tuesday night, with 22 Democrats backing the Republican-led effort.
The controversial video posted by Tlaib accused President Joe Biden of supporting the “genocide of the Palestinian people," and also included footage of a crowd chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which critics — including Republican Rep. Richard McCormick, who sponsored the censure resolution — assert is a call to destroy the state of Israel. (Israel is bordered by the Jordan River on the east and the Mediterranean Sea on the west.)
Tlaib defended the video's inclusion of "from the river to the sea," saying she views the slogan as "an aspirational call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate.”
The censure was Republicans' second attempt to reprimand Tlaib since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, in which terrorists killed hundreds of civilians and soldiers and took around 240 people hostage. In response to the attack, Israel declared war on Hamas — which controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza — and indicated that a long military campaign to defeat its leaders is on the horizon.
Tlaib was previously criticized for a social media post she made on Oct. 17, after a blast at a Gaza hospital escalated tensions in the Middle East as Palestinian militants and the Israeli government accused one another of civilian casualties.
The U.S. and Israeli have since said that the rocket likely came from within Gaza and was fired by a Hamas-friendly group before accidentally striking the hospital. But the congresswoman pinned the blame on Israel, writing, "President Biden, not all Americans are with you on this one and you need to understand that. We are literally watching people commit genocide and killing the vast majority just like this, and we still stand by and say nothing. We will remember this."
Tlaib has since said she "cannot uncritically accept Israel’s denials of responsibility as fact," and called for a deeper investigation into the hospital blast, adding in a statement, "This debate should not distract us from the urgent need for a ceasefire to save innocent civilian lives.”
Following the advancement of the censure resolution, Tlaib defended her posts in a speech on the House floor.
“It is important to separate people and governments. No government is beyond criticism,” she said, per CNN. Holding up a photo of her Palestinian grandmother, she continued: “I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable. We are human beings just like anyone else."
Tlaib is one of four lawmakers of color who founded "the Squad," a group of progressives initially comprised of Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
She and Omar, who was born in Somalia and sought asylum in the U.S. during her teenage years, were the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
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Tlaib is only the 26th U.S. representative in history to be censured by the House.
A censure is an expression of the chamber's disapproval toward one of its members, though it has no direct consequences. Historically, censures are rare and have been reserved for acts that are criminal in nature.
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