Nov 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Rashida Tlaib censured by House over Israel comments

Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

The House on Tuesday voted to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her criticisms of Israel and her defense of a controversial pro-Palestinian chant.

Why it matters: Nearly two dozen House Democrats voted for the resolution. Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has infuriated lawmakers in both parties with her strident criticism of Israel.

Driving the news: The House voted 234-188, with four voting "present," to pass a resolution introduced by Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) censuring Tlaib for "promoting false narratives" about the Oct. 7 attack and "calling for the destruction of the state of Israel."

  • 22 Democrats voted for the resolution – a combination of Jewish lawmakers, moderates from swing districts and members from states like Florida and New York with large Jewish populations.
  • Four Republicans voted against it: Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), John Duarte (R-Calif.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

What they're saying: Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), one of the most vocally pro-Israel Democrats in Congress, said in a statement that the censure measure is "not a perfect resolution" but he "felt he had no other recourse but to vote to censure her."

  • "Unfortunately it is the only vehicle available to formally rebuke the dangerous disinformation and aspersions that Rep. Tlaib continues to use and defend," he said.

The details: The resolution takes aim at Tlaib for accusing Israel of an "apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance" in her response to the Oct. 7 attack.

The other side: "Rather than acknowledge the voice and perspective of the only Palestinian American in Congress, my colleagues have resorted to distorting my positions in resolutions filled with obvious lies," Tlaib said in a statement.

  • Tlaib said she has "repeatedly denounced the horrific targeting and killing of civilians by Hamas and the Israeli government" and "mourned the Israeli and Palestinian lives lost."

The backdrop: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tried to censure Tlaib last week with a resolution accusing her of leading an "insurrection" for speaking at a Capitol Hill protest last month calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

What we're hearing: Several Republicans voted against both measures due to concerns about punishing colleagues for controversial statements or a beleaguered view of persistent, hyper-partisan censure fights.

  • "We don't need House censure for idiotic statements," Duarte told Axios ahead of the vote. "It's a waste of time ... We can express ourselves and our disagreements through our communications people."
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