WASHINGTON — Republicans introduced a pair of censure resolutions against Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Monday after the House rejected a similar measure last week.
A resolution by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) slams Tlaib for alleged “antisemitic activity and sympathizing with terrorist organizations” because of her public statements criticizing Israel.
Another measure, by Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), would censure Tlaib “for promoting false narratives regarding the October 7th, 2023 Hamas attack on Israel and calling for destruction for the State of Israel.”
The measures are part of a broader Republican effort to connect progressive lawmakers and Muslim and Arab Americans to the terrorist activities of the Palestinian group Hamas. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) also introduced a bill on Friday to bar the admission of any Palestinian immigrants to the United States and expel those who have arrived since Oct. 1.
Tlaib, the sole Palestinian American in Congress, has been an outspoken critic of Israel, denouncing it as an “apartheid state” for its mistreatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hamas, the armed group that controls Gaza, launched a terror attack that killed 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7, prompting an Israeli bombardment and ground invasion that has killed thousands of Palestinians so far.
Tlaib has called for a cease-fire and on Friday posted a video using a pro-Palestinian slogan — “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — that many of Israel’s defenders consider an antisemitic call to wipe Israel off the map, since the phrase refers to the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The area between those two bodies of water encompasses Israel proper as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Even many Jewish progressives prefer a two-state solution that would preserve an independent Israel alongside a Palestinian state, which is seemingly at odds with the slogan’s message.
“From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate,” Tlaib said in a follow-up to her original post.
Palestinians have used the slogan since at least the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and its war of independence, which resulted in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their ancestral lands. Today, many Palestinian activists who use the slogan, including Tlaib, support the creation of a binational state in which Jews and Arabs would have equal political rights, but Israel would not continue to exist as a majority-Jewish state. In other cases, it is simply a general cry for justice and an end to the Israeli occupation of lands held since 1967.
In his resolution, McCormick called the phrase “widely recognized as a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel.”
The House last week rejected a censure resolution written by Greene, with 23 Republicans, including McCormick, joining all Democrats in a vote to table the measure. The resolution dubiously claimed Tlaib “led an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex” because she addressed pro-Palestinian demonstrators last month who were later arrested for protesting inside a House office building.
Several Republicans said they disliked the way Greene’s resolution trivialized the term “insurrection,” which they thought Democrats had already trivialized in their descriptions of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters. The new version of Greene’s resolution drops the term “insurrection” and points to Tlaib’s recent use of “from the river to the sea.”
The lawmakers are using a special procedure that will force House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to arrange votes within the next two days. It’s possible Tlaib will lose support from Democrats on the next vote; several of her Democratic colleagues have criticized Tlaib since she posted the video.
“The phrase ‘from the river to the sea’ is one of division & violence, & it is counterproductive to promoting peace,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), the sole Jewish member of Michigan’s congressional delegation, said on social media. “None of us, especially elected leaders, should amplify language that inflames a tense situation & makes it harder for our communities to find common ground.”
Republicans have been less subtle.
“Rashida Tlaib is calling for the genocide of the Jewish people,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said Monday.
In an apparent response to criticism since Friday, Tlaib reposted her original statement responding to Greene’s censure plans last month.
“I will not be bullied, I will not be dehumanized, and I will not be silenced,” Tlaib said. “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.”