The House of Representatives votes to censure Representative Rashida Tlaib over her speech between Israel and Hamas in a stunning rebuke
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted late Tuesday to censure the Democratic lawmaker. Rashida Tlaib From Michigan – the only Palestinian American in Congress – an unusual rebuke of her speech on… Israel-Hamas war.
The tally of 234 to 188 came after enough Democrats joined Republicans to criticize Tlaib, a punishment one step short of expulsion from the House of Representatives. The three-term congresswoman has long been a target of criticism for her views on the decades-long conflict in the Middle East.
The debate over the censure resolution Tuesday afternoon was emotional and intense. Republican Representative Rich McCormick of Georgia pushed the measure in response to what he described as Tlaib’s promotion of anti-Semitic rhetoric. He added that she “wrote incredible lies about our greatest ally, Israel, and the attack that occurred on October 7.”
With other Democrats standing by her side, Tlaib defended her position, saying that she “will not remain silent and I will not allow you to distort my words.” She added that her criticism of Israel was always directed towards its government and leadership during the era of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It is important to separate the people from the government,” she said. “The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is anti-Semitic sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It has been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.
This criticism reached new heights after that The October 7 attack carried out by the Hamas terrorist movement It left hundreds of Israelis dead and wounded. Tlaib, who has family in the West Bank, came under heavy criticism after she failed to immediately condemn Hamas after the attack.
All Democrats initially sided with Tlaib and helped defeat the first censure resolution against her last week. But since then, many of her colleagues, including prominent Jewish members, have become more conflicted about her rhetoric on the war, particularly because of a slogan she has frequently used that is widely seen as calling for the elimination of Israel.
Ultimately, more than 20 of them joined Republicans Tuesday night to censure her after an attempt to delay the measure earlier in the day failed.
The latest censure campaign led to a dramatic vote on the House floor amid political tensions over the ongoing deadly war between Israel and Hamas. While the majority of both parties have historically stood firmly on Israel’s side, divisions have emerged in the Democratic Party over the American response.
Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., the only Democrat to vote with Republicans on Tuesday in favor of introducing a censure resolution, said he thought it was important to discuss the “River to Sea” slogan.
“It is nothing but a call to destroy Israel and kill the Jews,” the Jewish Democrat said. “I will always defend the right to freedom of expression. Tlaib has the right to say what she wants.”
He added: “But it cannot remain unanswered.”
While censuring a legislator has no practical effect, it does amount to a severe reprimand from his colleagues, with censured legislators usually being asked to stand in the well of the chamber while the censure resolution against them is read aloud. But the decision against Tlaib did not call for a public warning.
With this vote, Tlaib will become the second Muslim American woman in Congress to be formally reprimanded this year for her criticism of Israel. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, was removed in February from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over similar comments she made about Israel.
Some on the left criticized President Joe Biden’s position and urged him to place conditions on US support for Israel at a time when its aggressive military campaign is leading to a high Palestinian death toll.
While the vote against Tlaib will take place against an unusual backdrop of war, the pressure to criticize it is part of a growing pattern in the House.
He was to blame It has long been viewed as a punishment of last resort, is only one step away from expulsion and is only activated in the event of the most serious violations being committed. But censure decisions quickly became routine in the council, often applied in strikingly partisan ways.
Many Democrats and some Republicans who opposed criticizing Tlaib pointed to freedom of expression and warned of the precedent it would set.
“This decision not only degrades our Constitution, it diminishes the meaning of discipline in this body for people who actually commit illegal acts such as bribery, fraud, violent assault, etc.,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. Tlaib defended against the decision late Tuesday.
A second resolution by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, to convict Tlaib was also scheduled for late Tuesday night. But that action was postponed after McCormick’s censure resolution reached a final vote.
Tlaib is now the 26th person the council has ever censured, and the second just this year. In June Republicans They voted to convict Democrat Adam Schiff California because of comments he made several years ago regarding investigations into then-US President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
When the House was under Democratic control, so was Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona Banned in 2021 For tweeting an animated video depicting him striking Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York with a sword. Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York was criticized in 2010 for financial and campaign misconduct.
AP congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com