WASHINGTON (AP) — The Home voted late Tuesday to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — the one Palestinian American in Congress — a rare rebuke of her rhetoric in regards to the Israel-Hamas battle.
The 234-188 tally got here after sufficient Democrats joined with Republicans to censure Tlaib, a punishment one step under expulsion from the Home. The three-term congresswoman has lengthy been a goal of criticism for her views on the decades-long battle within the Center East.
The talk on the censure decision on Tuesday afternoon was emotional and intense. Republican Rep. Wealthy McCormick of Georgia pushed the censure measure in response to what he known as Tlaib’s promotion of antisemitic rhetoric. He mentioned she has “levied unbelievable falsehoods about our best ally, Israel, and the assault on October 7.”
With different Democrats standing by her facet, Tlaib defended her stance, saying she “is not going to be silenced and I can’t allow you to distort my phrases.”
Tlaib added that her criticism of the Jewish state has all the time been directed towards its authorities and its management beneath Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“You will need to separate individuals and authorities,” she mentioned. “The concept that criticizing the federal government of Israel is antisemitic units a really harmful precedent. And it’s been used to silence numerous voices talking up for human rights throughout our nation.”
That criticism reached new heights after the Oct. 7 assault by the terrorist group Hamas left a whole bunch of Israelis useless and scores injured. Tlaib, who has household within the West Financial institution, got here beneath heavy reproval after she failed to right away condemn Hamas after the assault.
Democrats stood by Tlaib and helped defeat an preliminary censure decision in opposition to her final week. However since then, lots of her colleagues, together with distinguished Jewish members, have turn out to be extra conflicted about her rhetoric in regards to the battle, particularly due to a slogan she has used often that’s extensively seen as calling for the eradication of Israel.
The measure superior earlier Tuesday and was rushed to the ground for a last vote.
Rep. Brad Schneider, D-In poor health., the lone Democrat to vote with Republicans on Tuesday to advance the censure decision, mentioned he believed it was essential to debate the slogan “from the river to the ocean.”
“It’s nothing else however the name for the destruction of Israel and homicide of Jews,” the Jewish Democrat mentioned. “I’ll all the time defend the correct to free speech. Tlaib has the correct to say no matter she desires.”
He added, “Nevertheless it can’t go unanswered.” It was unclear if Schneider would help the decision on last passage.
Whereas the censure of a lawmaker carries no sensible impact, it quantities to a extreme reproach from colleagues, as lawmakers who’re censured are requested to face within the effectively of the Home because the censure decision in opposition to them is learn aloud.
With the vote, Tlaib will turn out to be the second Muslim-American lady in Congress to be formally admonished this yr for her criticism of the Jewish state. Rep. Ilhan Omar, R-Minn., was eliminated in February from the Home International Affairs Committee for comparable feedback she made about Israel.
The censure push resulted in a dramatic vote on the Home flooring amid political tensions over the continued, lethal Israel-Hamas battle. Whereas the vast majority of each events have traditionally stood firmly on the facet of Israel, divisions have emerged within the Democratic Social gathering in regards to the American response.
Some on the left have criticized President Joe Biden’s stance and urged him to place situations on U.S. help for Israel as its aggressive army marketing campaign drives the Palestinian dying toll larger.
Whereas the vote in opposition to Tlaib will happen in opposition to the extraordinary backdrop of the battle, the push to censure her is a part of a rising sample within the Home.
Censure had lengthy been considered as a punishment of final resort, only one step under expulsion and to be triggered just for probably the most egregious wrongdoing. However censure resolutions are shortly turning into routine within the chamber, usually wielded in strikingly partisan methods.
Many Democrats and a few Republicans who opposed censuring Tlaib cited free speech and warned of the precedent it might set.
“This decision not solely degrades our Structure, but it surely cheapens the that means of self-discipline on this physique for individuals who really commit wrongful actions like bribery, fraud, violent assault and so forth,” mentioned Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who defended Tlaib in opposition to the decision on the ground late Tuesday.
A second decision by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to censure Tlaib had additionally been scheduled for a procedural vote late Tuesday evening. However that measure was placed on maintain after the censure decision from McCormick superior to a last vote.
AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.