A congressional Democrat is pushing to formally censure Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) after he made comments last week comparing “Palestinian civilians” to “Nazi civilians” and saying “there are very few innocent Palestinian citizens,” drawing criticism from Democrats — after Republicans sought to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her comments on Israel.
Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) filed the resolution to censure Mast, writing that his “refusal to distinguish innocent Palestinians for Hamas terrorists is false, misleading, dehumanizing, dangerous, and unbecoming of a Member of Congress.”
Mast made the comparison last Wednesday on the House floor, saying he “would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians,’ as is frequently said. I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”
A censure doesn’t result in removal of office—rather, it’s simply a formal statement of disapproval that could, in theory, negatively impact one’s standing in Congress.
Jacobs wrote Mast’s comments “can be reasonably construed as inviting the targeted murder of innocent Palestinians, fanning the flames of violence and the Middle East and violating the international rules of war.”
Forbes has reached out to Mast’s team for comment.
“Innocent civilians shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their governments – and they’re certainly not responsible for the actions of terrorists,” Jacobs said on X, formerly known as Twitter, after introducing the resolution.
What To Watch For
Whether the resolution passes. The move to censure Mast, a Republican, could face long odds in a Republican-controlled House.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took to X shortly after Jacobs introduced the resolution to call Mast “an American hero!!!”
The push to censure Mast came on the same day Greene reintroduced a resolution to censure Tlaib for a number of comments made over the years, including saying Israel has an “apartheid government,” and for her involvement in a rally calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 18 on Capitol Hill in which more than 300 arrests were made. Greene first tried to censure Tlaib last week, but the House shot it down, with 23 Republicans crossing party lines to shelve the resolution. In a statement responding to the second censure attempt, Tlaib—who is Palestinian American—said many of her colleagues “have shown me that Palestinian lives simply do not matter to them” and that “it’s a shame (they) are more focused on silencing me than they are on saving lives.”
The U.S. has backed Israel since Hamas — which controls the Gaza Strip — attacked southern Israel last month, killing roughly 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages back to Gaza. Israel has responded with a massive military operation in Gaza. The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health says the Palestinian death toll passed 10,000 on Monday—officials didn’t specify how many were civilian deaths, but said 6,700 of those deaths were women or children, the Associated Press reported. Some progressives in Congress have joined Tlaib in calling for a ceasefire, though President Joe Biden has instead urged a “humanitarian pause” so civilians can depart areas with fighting and aid can enter Gaza. Meanwhile, Mast has been an outspoken backer of Israel, wearing a uniform from his service in the Israel Defense Forces to Capitol Hill last month.