Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) broke down in tears today during a debate over the censure resolution that accuses her of anti-Semitism. The resolution, which has been a point of contention within the House, stems from previous statements made by Tlaib that her critics claim crossed the line into anti-Semitic territory.
Earlier on Tuesday, Georgia Congresswoman Majorie Taylor Greene (R) introduced a second motion to censure “Squad” member Tlaib, this time related to her support for an illegal occupation of a federal building by protestors calling on Congress to support a ceasefire by Israel in its war with Hamas.
Rep. Tlaib defended herself during her speech, claiming the safety concerns that anti-Semitism presents to all communities, while highlighting the plight of Palestinians and their human rights. “Anti-Semitism makes us all less safe,” Tlaib said.
“My sitti, my grandmother, like all Palestinians, just wants to live her life with freedom and human dignity we all deserve.”
The Michigan Representative was defended by fellow Democrat, Rep. Debbie Dingell, who engaged with constituents over the weekend to gauge the sentiments regarding the phrase “from the river to the sea,” which has been a flashpoint in the debate.
Dingell, however, admitted that interpretations of the phrase vary and it may still be offensive. Many Republicans see it as a clear-cut case of repeated patterns that many believe propagate harmful stereotypes against Jewish people.
The phrase “from the river to the sea” is most commonly shorthand for: “from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea,” encompassing the land that includes both Israel and the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip).
The phrase has also been adopted by groups and individuals who oppose the existence of the State of Israel. In some cases, it has been interpreted as a call for the elimination of Israel. The phrase has become controversial and is often criticized, especially within the Israeli and Jewish communities, as implying a threat to the existence of Israel.
Speaking on the House floor earlier on Tuesday, Greene said that Tlaib was complicit in “antisemitic activity” and “sympathizing with terrorist organizations.” Last week Rep. Tlaib narrowly avoided a censure for her past antisemitic statements after a small faction of Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the resolution, which was also introduced by Rep. Greene and which Tlaib called “Islamophobic.”
“In May 2019, Rashida Tlaib said that she celebrated the Holocaust and felt a calming feeling when thinking about the genocide of millions of Jews. Whereas in 2020 she retweeted an illustration with the caption ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ And this Palestine organization’s slogan has been adopted by Hamas and calls for the elimination of Israel and the death of all Jews.”
Joe Biden has distanced himself from the base of his party which now supports Palestinians over Israel, putting the incumbent badly out of step with his key voters heading into next year’s election. He trails former President Donald Trump by wide margins in most swing states according to a new poll from the New York Times.