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House tables resolution to censure Tlaib over Israel comments

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP

The House voted to table – or block – a Republican-led resolution on Wednesday to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan over comments critical of Israel and in support of Palestinians.

The measure, introduced by GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, accuses Tlaib of “antisemitic activity” and “leading an insurrection” at the US Capitol complex. Tlaib, who is the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress, has denounced the resolution as “unhinged” and “deeply Islamophobic.” The vote was 222 to 186 with 23 Republicans voting with Democrats to kill the censure measure.

The resolution cites a protest on October 18 in the rotunda of the Cannon House office building where activists called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. The protest at the Cannon rotunda was organized by the groups Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. The groups also organized a rally on the National Mall the same day.

Tlaib was not present at the protest in the Cannon office building rotunda on October 18, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. The congresswoman spoke at a rally in support of a ceasefire that took place outside of the Capitol that day, the source said.

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Tlaib posted on X, “Thank you to our Jewish allies from across the country who joined in solidary to call for a #CeasefireNOW.”

Demonstrations are not allowed inside congressional office buildings. More than 300 people were arrested for illegally demonstrating at the October 18 event at the Cannon rotunda and three individuals were arrested for assault on a police officer, US Capitol Police spokesperson Brianna Burch told CNN.

There are major differences between a demonstration inside a congressional office building and an attack on the Capitol.

As of early October, more than 1,185 defendants have been charged in connection with their alleged participation in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack with more than 800 people having pleaded guilty or been convicted, according to the Justice Department.

Pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 were seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election by attempting to stop congressional certification of Joe Biden’s win. Four people died in the attack, including a rioter who was shot by a Capitol police officer, two members of the crowd who suffered heart attacks, and one who died of an overdose. The Department of Justice has said that 140 officers were injured that day and five officers died in the aftermath of the riot – one of strokes and four by suicide.

Responding to the censure resolution, Tlaib said in a statement, “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s unhinged resolution is deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates. I am proud to stand in solidarity with Jewish peace advocates calling for a ceasefire and an end to the violence. I will not be bullied, I will not be dehumanized, and I will not be silenced. I will continue to call for ceasefire, for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid, for the release of hostages and those arbitrarily detained, and for every American to be brought home.”

The resolution also references Tlaib saying last month that Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza with the resolution accusing the congresswoman of “lying about Israel’s responsibility for the attack, which United States intelligence agencies said was not perpetrated by Israel.”

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.”

As Greene pushes to censure Tlaib, Democrats had also pushed a censure resolution against Greene.

Democratic Rep. Becca Balint of Vermont has put forward a resolution, stating that Greene has “fanned the flames of racism, antisemitism, LGBTQ hate speech, Islamophobia, anti-Asian hate, xenophobia, and other forms of hatred.”

In a statement on the resolution to censure Greene, Balint said, “Rep. Taylor Greene’s resolution to censure Rep. Tlaib is an overt Islamophobic attack on the only Palestinian-American member of Congress,” adding, “This kind of rhetoric fans the flames of hate and fear at a time when Muslim Americans are already facing increased threats and violence.”

CNN has reached out to Greene’s office to request comment on the resolution from Balint.

In an apparent reference to the resolution, Greene wrote on X last week, “Slow down and breathe a little Becca. Geez and they call me a conspiracy theorist.”

Greene, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, has a long history of incendiary rhetoric. In 2020, Politico published recordings of Greene making Islamophobic statements, including saying that “there is an Islamic invasion into our government offices.” Politico reported that the recordings appeared to date from between 2017 to 2019. At the time of the article’s publication, Greene was a candidate running for office and her campaign did not deny the veracity of the recordings.

In 2021, Greene apologized for making “offensive” comments comparing Capitol Hill mask-wearing rules to the Holocaust after visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

The House voted that year – when Democrats held the majority – to remove Greene from her committee assignments. After Republicans won back the House majority in January, Greene was given committee assignments for the new Congress.

CNN’s Haley Talbot, Greg Krieg and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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