WASHINGTON ― Lawmakers are poised to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over what they claim is her antisemitic criticism of Israel.
The House on Tuesday rejected a Democratic motion to table the censure resolution against Tlaib by a vote of 213 to 208, meaning the House will vote on the actual resolution on Wednesday.
The resolution, by Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), accuses Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress, of “promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
Six Republicans voted to table the censure. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) told HuffPost he opposes punishing colleagues for public statements, citing free speech protections under the First Amendment to the Constitution.
That many Republican defections would usually be enough to block a bill, but one Democrat voted against tabling the resolution and the majority threshold dropped to 213 because 11 lawmakers were absent (eight of them Democrats). If more Democrats show up on Wednesday, then the Tlaib censure could fail.
Republicans have sought to tie progressive lawmakers and Muslim and Arab Americans to the militant group Hamas since its Oct. 7 terror attack against Israel. Democrats have retaliated by proposing censure resolutions against Republicans, including one by Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) calling out Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) for likening Palestinian civilians to Nazi collaborators in World War II.
“They’re just trying to look for some kind of buyback, some kind of giveaway to, you know, that side,” Mast told HuffPost.
Censure has no practical effect, except that the lawmaker censured will have been formally reprimanded by his or her colleagues.
Several Democrats joined Republicans on Tuesday in voting to keep McCormick’s resolution alive. Last week, all House Democrats and 23 Republicans voted against a censure resolution by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) that claimed Tlaib led an “insurrection” because she addressed pro-Palestine demonstrators who were later arrested inside the Capitol.
Greene lashed out at her colleagues last week and introduced a new resolution that the House is set to take up later on Tuesday. The lawmakers are using a special procedure that allows them to force votes on their resolutions.
Tlaib’s top demand has been for a cease-fire as the Palestinian death toll rises in the wake of Israel’s bombardment and invasion of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas operates. Terrorists linked to the group killed more than 1,400 Israelis and took hundreds of hostages in their Oct. 7 attack.
“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,” Tlaib said in a statement earlier on Tuesday. “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.”
Some Democrats lost patience with Tlaib after she posted a video Friday using a Palestinian slogan ― “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” ― that many supporters of Israel interpret as a call to wipe Israel off the map.
Tlaib tweeted after the video: “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.”