By FARNOUSH AMIRI (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House voted late Tuesday to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — the one Palestinian American in Congress — a rare rebuke of her rhetoric concerning the Israel-Hamas battle.
The 234-188 tally got here after sufficient Democrats joined with Republicans to censure Tlaib, a punishment one step beneath expulsion from the House. The three-term congresswoman has lengthy been a goal of criticism for her views on the decades-long battle within the Middle East.
The debate on the censure decision on Tuesday afternoon was emotional and intense. Republican Rep. Rich McCormick of Georgia pushed the measure in response to what he referred to as Tlaib’s promotion of antisemitic rhetoric. He stated she has “levied unbelievable falsehoods about our greatest ally, Israel, and the attack on October 7.”
With different Democrats standing by her aspect, Tlaib defended her stance, saying she “will not be silenced and I will not let you distort my words.” She added that her criticism of the Jewish state has all the time been directed towards its authorities and its management underneath Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It is important to separate people and government,” she stated. “The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent. And it’s been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.”
That criticism reached new heights after the Oct. 7 assault by the terrorist group Hamas left lots of of Israelis lifeless and scores injured. Tlaib, who has household within the West Bank, got here underneath heavy reproval after she failed to right away condemn Hamas after the assault.
All Democrats initially stood by Tlaib and helped defeat the primary censure decision in opposition to her final week. But since then, lots of her colleagues, together with outstanding Jewish members, have change into extra conflicted about her rhetoric concerning the battle, particularly due to a slogan she has used continuously that’s broadly seen as calling for the eradication of Israel.
Ultimately, greater than 20 of them joined Republicans on Tuesday evening to censure her after an effort to shelve the measure failed earlier within the day.
The newest censure push resulted in a dramatic vote on the House ground amid political tensions over the continuing, lethal Israel-Hamas battle. While nearly all of each events have traditionally stood firmly on the aspect of Israel, divisions have emerged within the Democratic Party concerning the American response.
Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., the lone Democrat to vote with Republicans on Tuesday to advance the censure decision, stated he believed it was necessary to debate the slogan “from the river to the sea.”
“It is nothing else but the call for the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews,” the Jewish Democrat stated. “I will always defend the right to free speech. Tlaib has the right to say whatever she wants.”
He added, “But it cannot go unanswered.”
While the censure of a lawmaker carries no sensible impact, it quantities to extreme reproach from colleagues, as lawmakers who’re censured are often requested to face within the properly of the House because the censure decision in opposition to them is learn aloud. But the decision in opposition to Tlaib didn’t name for the general public admonishment.
With the vote, Tlaib will change into the second Muslim-American girl in Congress to be formally admonished this 12 months for her criticism of the Jewish state. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was eliminated in February from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for related feedback she made about Israel.
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 greater.
While 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 House.
Censure had lengthy been considered as a punishment of final resort, only one step beneath expulsion and to be triggered just for essentially the most egregious wrongdoing. But 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 will set.
“This resolution not only degrades our Constitution, but it cheapens the meaning of discipline in this body for people who actually commit wrongful actions like bribery, fraud, violent assault and so on,” stated 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. But that measure was placed on maintain after the censure decision from McCormick superior to a closing vote.
Tlaib is now the twenty sixth individual to ever be censured by the chamber, and the second simply this 12 months. In June, Republicans voted to censure Democrat Adam Schiff of California for feedback he made a number of years in the past about investigations into then-President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
When the House was underneath Democratic management, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona was censured in 2021 for tweeting an animated video that depicted him putting Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York with a sword. And Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York was censured in 2010 over severe monetary and marketing campaign misconduct.
AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.