Rashida Tlaib criticized over Israel-Gaza comments

  • By Emily Atkinson
  • BBC news

The US Congress has voted to censure its only Palestinian-American member over comments she made about the Israel-Gaza war.

Michigan Democrat Rahida Tlaib was reprimanded for her defense of the “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant.

The resolution formally condemned her for “calling for the destruction of the State of Israel”.

The measure was passed by a vote of 234 to 188. Twenty-two Democrats voted to censure.

Ms Tlaib posted a video on Twitter on Friday that included a clip of protesters using the song, which critics say calls for Palestinian control of all land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, including Israel.

The video also accused President Joe Biden of supporting genocide in Gaza and called for a ceasefire.

The Anti-Defamation League and Jewish groups say the slogan, used at protests around the world, is a call for the destruction of Israel.

Pro-Palestinian activists argue that most people who use it are calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza, not the elimination of Israel itself.

Tlaib later defended his use of the slogan, calling it “a hopeful call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hatred.”

The comment drew cross-party condemnation and criticism from allies in her own state, leading to two separate measures seeking to censure her.

Twenty-two Democrats joined the vast majority of Republicans who voted for Ms. Tlaib’s censure.

After the vote, Ms Tlaib told the House that her comments were aimed at the Israeli government.

“I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable. We are human, just like everyone else,” she said.

More than 1,400 Israelis were killed in the October 7 attack by Hamas.

The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 10,300 Palestinians have since been killed in Israeli attacks.

The Biden administration has rejected calls for a ceasefire in favor of a humanitarian pause to allow aid, food and water into Gaza.

More on the Israel-Gaza war

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