Efforts to formally denounce Palestinian American legislator dismissed with broad bipartisan support.
The US House of Representatives has rejected an effort to censure Palestinian American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat who has been advocating for Palestinian rights amid Israel’s war on Gaza.
The measure, which was introduced by far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, was halted in a 222 to 186 vote on Wednesday, with 23 Republicans joining the Democrats in opposing it.
A Democratic effort to in turn censure Greene was called off in response.
The so-called censure resolution against Tlaib accused the Michigan representative of “anti-Semitic activity, sympathising with terrorist organisations and leading an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex”, referring to a sit-in by Jewish activists inside Congress to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
My statement on Marjorie Taylor Greene’s effort to censure me. pic.twitter.com/dzUNflJPh2
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) October 26, 2023
Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress, had rejected the measure as rooted in bigotry.
“I will not be bullied, I will not be dehumanised, and I will not be silenced,” she said last week. “I will continue to call for ceasefire [in Gaza], for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid, for the release of hostages and those arbitrarily detained, and for every American to be brought home,” she said in a statement.
She also called Greene’s resolution “unhinged” and said it’s “deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates.”
While the censure itself carries no practical effect, it leaves an historic footnote that marks a lawmaker’s career.
Greene has not commented on the resolution to censure her but criticised the dozens of Republicans who voted against moving the Tlaib measure forward.
Tlaib was among one of the more than a dozen progressive legislators in the United States who last month introduced a congressional resolution urging “an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine”.
“All human life is precious, and the targeting of civilians, no matter their faith or ethnicity, is a violation of international humanitarian law,” the proposed resolution read.
The war erupted on October 7 when the Palestinian group Hamas launched a highly coordinated attack against Israel from the besieged Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.
Israel responded with a relentless bombing campaign that has killed more than 8,700 Palestinians, according to authorities in Gaza. Meanwhile, an Israeli siege on Gaza has cut off supplies of fuel and heavily restricted access to food, water and electricity in the densely populated enclave, where hospitals are filled with the dying and wounded and shortages have put huge pressure on medical workers.
Last month, Tlaib had described the horrific humanitarian situation in Gaza, home to some 2.3 million people, saying “entire families are being wiped out” and criticising Democrat President Joe Biden and Secretary Antony Blinken for failing to call for a ceasefire.
Tlaib also stressed that the collective punishment of Palestinians is a war crime. “See what’s happening. Don’t turn away. All they need to do is see Palestinians as human to see again that these are war crimes,” she said.