The House has moved forward with a resolution of censure against Representative Rashida Tlaib, sparking criticism from both sides of the aisle for her remarks about Israel.

The House has moved forward with a resolution of censure against Representative Rashida Tlaib, sparking criticism from both sides of the aisle for her remarks about Israel.

The House of Representatives is likely to censure Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib from Michigan after several Republicans changed their stance and now support a formal reprimand due to her recent contentious remarks about Israel.

The House made a decision on Tuesday to move forward with the first of two resolutions aimed at reprimanding the Michigan Representative for her numerous comments about Israel. The vote to table, or dismiss, the resolution was 213 against and 208 in favor. Six Republicans joined all but one Democrat in voting to prevent the resolution introduced by Georgia Representative Rich McCormick.

The House is preparing to cast a vote on whether or not to advance a distinct resolution proposed by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, which will take place on Tuesday.

Last week, the measure failed when almost twenty-four Republicans, including McCormick, voted with Democrats to postpone it.

However, Tlaib, who is the only Palestinian American in the House, faced more criticism, including from fellow Democrats, after she defended the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib speaks during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Washington on Oct. 20, 2023.

On October 20, 2023, Representative Rashida Tlaib gave a speech at a demonstration in Washington advocating for Palestine. Jose Luis Magana / AP

Many Jewish individuals view the statement as a call for the annihilation of Israel. Tlaib clarified that it is actually a call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, rather than death, destruction, or hatred. Tlaib additionally accused President Biden of endorsing the massacre of Palestinian citizens by supporting Israel in their conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Tlaib released a statement on Monday evening, accusing her colleagues of misrepresenting her stances in resolutions that are riddled with blatant falsehoods.

After the vote on McCormick’s resolution, Tlaib delivered a passionate speech on the House floor, clarifying that her remarks about Israel were aimed at its government and urging her fellow representatives who oppose a cease-fire to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians.

She expressed concern that labeling criticism of the Israeli government as antisemitic is setting a harmful example and has been used to silence a variety of voices advocating for human rights in our country.

“I am in disbelief that I have to state this, but it must be said that Palestinians are not expendable,” she expressed with tears. “We are individuals, just like any other.”

Tlaib did not explicitly discuss her justification for supporting the slogan.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, who is the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, expressed strong disagreement with Tlaib’s justification of using the phrase.

He stated to journalists that he finds it offensive and believes that she is aware of that based on her discussions with her coworkers.

Representative Ted Lieu from California, who serves as the deputy leader of the caucus, also denounced Tlaib by stating that Hamas uses the phrase to incite violence against Jewish individuals.

According to Lieu, if this statement is heard in the United States, it can cause a lot of anger and hostility. He represents a district with a significant number of Jewish residents, second only to Israel. They are feeling fearful due to the increasing presence of antisemitism, and phrases like this only add to their fear.

“He explained that in America, we have the freedom of speech. People have the freedom to constantly say this phrase every hour. However, part of this freedom is also the ability to criticize and condemn those who use it. He wants people to realize that using this phrase during the violent Hamas invasion is frightening for Jewish Americans. He asks that people think about the impact of their words before using this phrase.”

However, Aguilar stated that leaders of the Democratic party have urged their members to support tabling the resolutions, which would essentially end them, and to oppose the censure resolutions if they come up for a vote.

Aguilar stated that the current censure attempts are not beneficial at the moment, as there are only 10 days until a potential government shutdown.

McCormick stated that he proposed a resolution distinct from Greene’s due to his disagreement with the phrasing of her previous motion, which alleged that Tlaib was responsible for “inciting an uprising” at a House office building.

Last week, he emphasized the significance of accurate wording and mentioned that it would receive support from multiple Republican voters who had previously voted to table Greene’s proposal.

Greene’s most recent proposal does not contain the language regarding insurrection.

Caitlin Yilek