The House passed a Republican-led resolution Tuesday to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib for her comments critical of Israel and in support of the Palestinians amid Israel’s war against Hamas.
The move is a rare and significant rebuke of the Michigan Democrat, who is the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress. The vote was 234-188, with four Republicans voting against and 22 Democrats voting in favor of the censure resolution.
The resolution, which was introduced by Georgia Republican Party Rep. Rich McCormick, was advanced earlier in the day after a Democratic-led effort to block the measure failed.
Tlaib defended herself against the censorship attempts, arguing it was an attempt to silence her and saying her “colleagues have resorted to misrepresenting my positions in resolutions filled with blatant lies.”
After the vote in favor of the censure resolution, Tlaib gave an emotional speech on the House floor and argued that her criticism of the Israeli government should not be confused with anti-Semitism.
“It is important to separate people and governments. No government is immune from criticism. The idea that criticizing the Israeli government is anti-Semitic sets a very dangerous precedent, and it has been used to silence diverse human rights voices across our country,” she said.
She became emotional and struggled to speak after saying: “I can’t believe I have to say this, but the Palestinian people are not disposable. »
“We are human beings just like anyone else,” she said after a long pause, during which Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota stood to comfort her and placed her hands on the Tlaib’s shoulder as the congresswoman braced herself against the podium.
After the House voted to block a resolution by Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to censure Tlaib last week, Greene introduced a new version of the resolution that drops reference to a pro-Palestinian protest at the Capitol as an “insurrection.” “, which made some Republicans uncomfortable. But McCormick’s resolution was expected to have more support from Republicans because its language is more restrictive and more tailored to recent events.
A censure resolution is one of the harshest forms of punishment in the House, which has historically been reserved for the most serious offenses such as a criminal conviction. A censure does not impeach a member of the House and carries no explicit sanction beyond a public warning.
Most recently, the House voted in June to censure California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a key lawmaker in Democratic congressional investigations of former President Donald Trump.
In addition to Republican criticism of Tlaib, a number of Democrats criticized the congresswoman for her defense of the pro-Palestinian “from the river to the sea” chant.
The Anti-Defamation League describes the song “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” as “an anti-Semitic slogan” and a “rallying cry (that) has long been used by anti-Israeli voices, including supporters of terrorist organizations such as the Hamas.”
Tlaib defended the phrase, write on X, “From the river to the sea, there is an ambitious call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hatred. My work and advocacy is always focused on justice and dignity for all, regardless of faith or ethnicity.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries responded, “Of course I do,” when asked by CNN on Monday if he had any concerns about Tlaib’s use of the chant.
Both censorship resolutions refer to singing. McCormick’s resolution states that it is “widely recognized as a genocidal call for violence to destroy the State of Israel.”
Tlaib posted a video on last week, which features clips of protesters chanting “from the river to the sea,” as well as other slogans such as “Free Palestine.”
At the end of the video, text appears on the screen saying: “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. The American people will not forget,” and he calls on Biden to support a ceasefire.
03:04 – Source: CNN
Tlaib accuses Biden of supporting “genocide.” Listen to Bernie Sanders’ response
McCormick said the On Tuesday evening, it temporarily closed its district office in Cumming, Georgia, “due to serious threats of violence” against its staff, although the post did not specify what those threats were related to. The congressman told CNN on Tuesday that “it might just be bad timing” and unrelated to the censorship efforts.
Julie Singleton, McCormick’s communications director, said in a statement that “all of Congressman McCormick’s staff are safe at this time.” The (Capitol Police) are working with local law enforcement to investigate the threat. We are unable to share any details about the threat or its circumstances at this time.
Both resolutions also reference comments made by Tlaib following an explosion at a Gaza hospital last month.
A post on social media by Tlaib on October 17 reflected the first reports coming from Hamas from Gaza. But this information was contradicted by US intelligence, which subsequently concluded that the Israel Defense Forces were not responsible for the explosion.
On October 25, Tlaib responded to her previous post on I agree with the United Nations that an independent investigation is necessary.
The MP included a link to a longer statement in which she went on to say: “I cannot unreservedly accept Israel’s denials of responsibility as fact”, and stated: “The Israeli and US governments have a long documented history of misleading the public on wars and war crimes. »
McCormick’s resolution states that Tlaib “continued to knowingly propagate the false narrative that Israel intentionally bombed” the hospital.
Greene’s resolution accuses Tlaib of “lying about Israel’s responsibility for the attack.”
In a statement on the two censure resolutions, Tlaib said: “It’s a shame that my colleagues are more focused on silencing me than saving lives as the death toll in Gaza passes 10,000. Many of them showed me that Palestinian lives simply don’t matter to them, but I still have no control over their rhetoric or actions. »
“Rather than recognizing the voice and perspective of the only Palestinian-American in Congress, my colleagues have resorted to misrepresenting my positions in resolutions filled with blatant lies,” Tlaib continued. “I have repeatedly denounced the horrific attacks and killings of civilians by Hamas and the Israeli government, and I have mourned the Israeli and Palestinian lives lost. »
CNN’s Manu Raju, Sam Fossum and Shania Shelton contributed.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.