Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is again facing Republican-led efforts to censure her over comments critical of Israel and in support of Palestinians amid Israel’s war against Hamas.
The House is on track Tuesday to consider two censure resolutions from Georgia Republicans against Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress. One resolution was introduced by Rep. Rich McCormick; the other is from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Tlaib has defended herself against the censure attempts, arguing that they are an effort to silence her and saying that her “colleagues have resorted to distorting my positions in resolutions filled with obvious lies.”
After the House voted to block a resolution from Greene to censure Tlaib last week, Greene put forward a new version of the resolution that drops a reference to a pro-Palestinian protest at the Capitol as an “insurrection,” which had made some Republicans uncomfortable. But McCormick’s resolution is expected to have more support from Republicans because the language is narrower and more tailored to recent events.
House Democratic leaders are urging their members to vote to table – or block – the resolutions, but a number of Democrats have been critical of Tlaib over her defense of the pro-Palestinian chant “from the river to the sea.”
The Anti-Defamation League describes the chant “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” as “an antisemitic slogan” and “rallying cry (that) has long been used by anti-Israel voices, including supporters of terrorist organizations such as Hamas.”
Tlaib has defended the phrase, writing on X, “From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate. My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said, “Of course I do,” when asked by CNN on Monday if he has concerns over Tlaib’s use of the chant.
Rep. Haley Stevens, a fellow Michigan Democrat, said she strongly disagrees with Tlaib’s use of the phrase, but said she doesn’t like the idea of censure, either.
“I have been really careful, partly because our Michigan delegation is so small, and we work together,” Stevens told CNN. “I don’t want my job to be policing or responding for anyone’s statements.”
Both censure resolutions reference the chant. McCormick’s resolution states that it is “widely recognized as a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel.”
Tlaib posted a video to X last week that features clips of protestors chanting “from the river to the sea,” as well as other chants such as “Free Palestine.”
At the end of the video, text displays on the screen saying, “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. The American people won’t forget,” and calling for Biden to support a ceasefire.
The two resolutions also both reference comments made by Tlaib in the aftermath of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza last month.
A social media post by Tlaib on October 17 reflected the early Hamas-sourced reports out of Gaza. But those reports were contradicted by American intelligence, which subsequently concluded that the Israel Defense Forces were not responsible for the explosion.
On October 25, Tlaib replied to her earlier post on X, saying, “Media outlets and third-party analysts have raised doubts about claims and evidence offered by both Israel and the Gaza Ministry of Health, and I agree with the United Nations that an independent investigation is necessary.”
The congresswoman included a link to a longer statement in which she went on to say, “I cannot uncritically accept Israel’s denials of responsibility as fact,” and said, “Both the Israeli and United States governments have long, documented histories of misleading the public about wars and war crimes.”
McCormick’s resolution states that Tlaib “continued to knowingly spread the false narrative that Israel intentionally bombed” the hospital.
Greene’s resolution accuses Tlaib of “lying about Israel’s responsibility for the attack.”
In a statement on the two censure resolutions, Tlaib said, “It’s a shame my colleagues are more focused on silencing me than they are on saving lives, as the death toll in Gaza surpasses 10,000. Many of them have shown me that Palestinian lives simply do not matter to them, but I still do not police their rhetoric or actions.”
“Rather than acknowledge the voice and perspective of the only Palestinian American in Congress, my colleagues have resorted to distorting my positions in resolutions filled with obvious lies,” Tlaib continued. “I have repeatedly denounced the horrific targeting and killing of civilians by Hamas and the Israeli government, and have mourned the Israeli and Palestinian lives lost.”
CNN’s Manu Raju and Sam Fossum contributed.