The House of Representatives voted late Tuesday night to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over a series of controversial comments that prompted bipartisan backlash — with nearly two dozen Democrats voting to reprimand Tlaib after a similar measure failed last week.
The censure resolution passed in a 234-188-4 vote, with 22 Democrats breaking ranks to vote in favor of censure, while four Republicans broke with their GOP colleagues to vote against.
The censure resolution advanced after a Democratic-backed motion to table it failed in a 208-213-1 vote earlier Tuesday, with one Democrat, Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.), voting against tabling alongside all but six Republicans.
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Schneider led a letter signed by more than 60 other House Democrats rejecting the use of a phrase featured in a video Tlaib shared showing protesters chanting “from the river to the sea,” a pro-Palestinian rallying cry deemed antisemitic by the Anti-Defamation League that suggests Palestinians should reclaim the land encompassing Israel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
Several Democrats who voted to table the censure said they would vote in favor of the formal resolution, including Reps. Ritchie Torres (N.Y.), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.) and Jared Moskowitz (Fla.): “I don’t think it’s productive,” Moskowitz told Axios of the censures, adding “I also don’t think calling for the removal of an entire country is productive.”
The Republican-controlled House passed the measure after it tabled a previous motion filed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to censure Tlaib over her participation in a pro-Palestinian protest at the Capitol, as 23 Republicans voted alongside Democrats to reject Greene’s resolution, citing its comparison of the protest to an “insurrection” and their desire to protect free speech.
Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, appeared to tear up as she defended her rhetoric on the House floor Tuesday. “I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable . . . we are human beings just like anyone else,” she said, displaying a photo of her grandmother. “The cries . . . of Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me,” she said. “What I don’t understand is why the cries of Palestinians sound different to you all.”
The censure resolution, introduced by Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), cites Tlaib’s statement in the aftermath of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, which set off the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, that called Israel an “apartheid government” while attributing the violence to U.S. financial support of Israel. It condemns her refusal to retract a tweet she posted blaming Israel for a hospital bombing in Gaza after U.S. and Israeli intelligence said the bombing was caused by a misfired rocket from the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It also points to the video she shared featuring protesters chanting “from the river to the sea,” what McCormick said “is widely recognized as a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel.” McCormick noted that Tlaib doubled down on her use of the video showing protesters chanting the phrase, calling it an “aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate.” Some 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, mostly in Hamas’ October 7 attack, according to the Associated Press. More than 10,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict in Gaza, AP reported, citing the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.
House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) also rebuked the “river to the sea” phrase in a statement Tuesday that said “echoing slogans that are widely understood as calling for the complete destruction of Israel—such as from the River to the Sea—does not advance progress toward a two-state solution. Instead, it unacceptably risks further polarization, division and incitement to violence.”
House Shoots Down Censure Resolution Against Rashida Tlaib (Forbes)
Progressive Reps. Tlaib, Omar Criticized For Blaming Israel For Gaza Hospital Explosion (Forbes)
Marjorie Taylor Greene Lashes Out At Republicans Who Opposed Her Tlaib Censure: ‘You Hate Trump’ (Forbes)