Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Congressional resolution censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian to serve in the national legislature, is a major scandal. It is rife with propaganda, fake history, and racism. It puts me in mind of Mark Twain’s observation that “America has no native criminal class . . . except Congress.” The resolution ignores the egregious statements of the cabinet members of the current Netanyahu government in Israel, who have daily made fascist, violent and racist statements. One just called for Gaza to be nuked. Several have called for Palestinians to be ethnically cleansed. Many of the US representatives who voted in favor of this resolution support racist MAGA principles and voted to overthrow the US government, branding themselves dishonest insurrectionists. The bigotry of their resolution, and its detachment from reality, therefore comes as no surprise.
I tooled around the news sites reading articles about the resolution, but found that no one reprinted it in full or even quoted liberally from it. So I thought I would offer a commentary on it.
- 118TH CONGRESS 1 ST SESSION H. RES. 845 Censuring Representative Rashida Tlaib for promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NOVEMBER 6, 2023 Mr. M C CORMICK (for himself, Mr. N EHLS , Mr. I SSA, and Mr. V AN DREW ) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Ethics RESOLUTION Censuring Representative Rashida Tlaib for promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.
Whereas Israel has existed on its lands for millennia
Israel has not existed on “its lands” for millennia. The indigenous Palestinian people have been living in Palestine, including what is now Israel, for millennia, and you want to erase them from history.
From 1099 when the Christian Crusaders took Jerusalem until the early 20th century there were only a handful of Jews in geographical Palestine, called Filastin in Arabic. When Bonaparte invaded in 1799, he found only 3,000 Jews in a population that probably amounted at that time to some 200,000 people, almost all of them Muslims and Christians. Even before the Crusades, many Jews had converted to Christianity or Islam and others had emigrated as merchants to Europe. There was no independent Jewish polity in geographical Palestine from the Roman conquest in 63 BCE until 1948. Palestine was successively ruled by pagan Rome, by Christian Rome, and then by the Muslim empires. So that is over 2 millennia when Israel had not existed on that land. Dressing up settler colonialism as a revival of some ancient state is typical imperialist diction. The French claimed Algeria on the grounds that it had been ruled by Rome and the French Empire was a successor state to the Roman Empire.
and the United States played a critical role in returning Israel to those lands in 1948 immediately following the Holocaust in recognition of its right to exist and as an indelible signal of our solidarity with the Jewish people;
Most of the world’s 18 million Jews don’t live in Israel and many do not desire to do so. So solidarity with the Israeli government has little to do with solidarity with the Jewish people. What actually happened was that Europe genocided its Jews, with half a million escaping to the British Mandate of Palestine where they were welcomed by British authorities as a pro-British population that offset the hostility of the 1.3 million indigenous, colonized Palestinians. After WW II, instead of repatriating Jews to Europe where they could get restitution for lost property, Europe and the United States dumped the survivors in British Palestine as settler-colonialists. King Abd al-Aziz Bin Saud suggested that the Jews be given, say, Bavaria, instead (just as Poland was given Gdansk [Danzig]), since it was Germany that committed the Holocaust, not the poor Palestinians. No one “returned” Israel to anything.
Whereas Israel is a critical ally to the American people and to our strategic national security interests in the Middle East;
It is not in fact clear what exactly Israel does for US national security interests. Its brutal policies toward Palestinians and Arab neighbors have provoked a lot of anti-US sentiment and even terrorism. It was useless in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It has refused to join a boycott of Russia over Ukraine or to send substantial weaponry to Ukraine.
Whereas the people of Israel -— including American citizens— were brutally attacked on October 7, 2023, by Hamas;
True, but what has that got to do with Rashida Tlaib? You do understand that tarring all Palestinians with the brush of Hamas or October 7 is an ugly form of racism, don’t you?
Whereas Representative Rashida Tlaib, within 24 hours of the October 7 barbaric attack on Jewish citizens of the State of Israel, representing the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, defended the brutal rapes, murders, beheadings, and kidnapping—including of Americans— by Hamas as justified ‘‘resistance’’ to the ‘‘apartheid state’’;
Yeah, you just made that up. It never happened. Israel is practicing Apartheid, and some Palestinians do resist it. But Tlaib has never spoken in favor of terrorism and she explicitly condemned the October 7 attacks. What you are really saying is that you don’t want anyone to bring up the years since 2007 during which Israel has kept Gaza under an economic blockade, denying it an airport or seaport, carefully rationing what materials are allowed in, refusing to let most residents leave for medical treatment, and producing an unemployment rate of 54%. Israel turned Gaza into an open air prison where 10 percent of children are stunted owing to malnutrition, with the complicity of the US Congress. So by all means pledge that we shall not speak of it.
Whereas Representative Tlaib’s October 8 statement claimed that Hamas’ October 7 attack on the Jewish people was partly attributable to United States security aid provided to Israel, which ignores the fact that the Iron Dome, a co-developed air defense system, saved lives that day by intercepting rockets launched from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian targets;
Yeah, the US Congress has been spineless in standing against Israel’s predatory behavior toward the Palestinians and has armed Israel to the teeth while allowing it to steal Palestinian land, keep Palestinians stateless, and colonize Palestinian land. Israel has used US weaponry such as cluster bombs in south Lebanon in ways contrary to US law, but you legislators let it get away with murder. The siege of Gaza and the repression in the West Bank are carried out with American weapons. It is possible to condemn this supreme onesidedness on the part of the US Congress and also to condemn Hamas.
Whereas, on October 18, 2023, Representative Tlaib continued to knowingly spread the false narrative that Israel intentionally bombed the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital on October 17 after United States intelligence, Israeli intelligence, and President Biden assessed with high confidence that Israel did not cause the explosion;
Tlaib has called for an impartial investigation. But why concentrate only on al-Ahli hospital? The Israeli armed forces by their own admission went on to bomb several other hospitals, including striking the al-Nasser Medical Complex, damaging al-Quds City Hospital and blasting an ambulance, which are war crimes but which Congress refuses to denounce as such. Might these contraventions of the Geneva Conventions warrant a Congressional censure?
Oh, gee. I see that the Senate in fact castigated Russia for its actions in Ukraine, calling them genocide and issuing a condemnation of “killing members of the Ukrainian people in mass atrocities through deliberate and regularized murders of fleeing civilians and civilians in passing as well as purposeful targeting of homes, schools, hospitals, shelters, and other residential and civilian areas…” But apparently some people are white and Christian and bombing their hospitals is genocide, while other people are brown and Muslim and, you know, war is hell.
Whereas, on November 3, 2023, Representative Tlaib published on social media a video containing the phrase ‘‘from the river to the sea’’, which is widely recognized as a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel and its people to replace it with a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea;
Whereas Representative Tlaib doubled down on this call to violence by falsely describing ‘‘from the river to the sea’’ as ‘‘an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence’’ despite it clearly entailing Israel’s destruction and denial of its fundamental right to exist; and
If Tlaib says that for her the phrase “from the river to the sea” doesn’t imply the destruction of Israel, then I’m not sure why you claim to know better than she what is in her mind.
But note that surely Palestinians ought to be free from the river to the sea, rather than living as stateless chattel under foreign military occupation. Since your predecessors in earlier Congresses supported slavery, Jim Crow, and the Apartheid government in South Africa, though, your body doesn’t have a glorious history of standing for oppressed people, so I understand your confusion when they demand their freedom.
Whereas Representative Tlaib has repeatedly displayed conduct entirely unbecoming of a Member of the House of Representatives by calling for the destruction of the state of Israel and dangerously promoting false narratives regarding a brutal, large-scale terrorist attack against civilian targets inside the sovereign territory of a major non- NATO ally while hundreds of Israeli and American hostages remain in terrorist captivity:
Yeah, again, Rep. Tlaib hasn’t called for the destruction of the state of Israel or promoted any false narratives about the October 7 attack. By the way, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia are also non-NATO allies.
Do you want to guess what Argentina, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar and Tunisia think about your refusal to call for a ceasefire when indiscriminate Israeli bombing of civilians has killed over 10,000, nearly half of them children? And then, NATO allies France, Spain and Turkey along with NATO applicant Norway all voted for the UNGA resolution for an immediate and durable humanitarian truce in Gaza. Or do you not really care what your allies think?
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That Representative Rashida Tlaib be censured.
You’ve censured yourself with this farrago of falsehoods and litany of lies, this tissue of tyranny and proclamation of hypocrisy.