Bipartisan House Censures Representative Rashida Tlaib for Controversial Remarks on Israel-Hamas Conflict

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 11/08/2023
In a significant development, the House of Representatives made the decision to censure Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. This action is particularly noteworthy as Tlaib is the sole Palestinian American serving in Congress. The censure serves as a strong reprimand for Tlaib's statements regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The tally of 234-188 was the result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to censure Tlaib, a disciplinary action that falls just short of expulsion from the House. The congresswoman, who has served three terms, has faced consistent criticism due to her perspectives on the prolonged conflict in the Middle East.

The censure resolution that took place on Tuesday afternoon sparked a highly charged and passionate debate. The measure was proposed by Republican Rep. Rich McCormick from Georgia as a response to what he perceived as Tlaib's endorsement of antisemitic language. According to the speaker, the individual in question has made claims that are deemed to be highly untrue and have caused astonishment. These falsehoods specifically pertain to our esteemed ally, Israel, as well as an attack that occurred on October 7.

Tlaib, accompanied by fellow Democrats, staunchly defended her position, asserting her refusal to be silenced and her determination to prevent any distortion of her words. The user stated that their criticism of the Jewish state has consistently been focused on its government and leadership, specifically Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

She emphasized the significance of maintaining a clear distinction between individuals and the governing body. The notion that criticizing the government of Israel is considered antisemitic establishes a potentially hazardous precedent. The tool has been employed to suppress a wide range of voices advocating for human rights throughout our country.

The criticism escalated significantly following the Oct. 7 terrorist attack carried out by Hamas, resulting in the loss of many Israeli lives and causing numerous injuries. Tlaib, who has family residing in the West Bank, faced significant criticism for not promptly denouncing Hamas following the attack.

Initially, the Democratic party demonstrated solidarity with Representative Tlaib by supporting her and contributing to the defeat of the first censure resolution aimed at her. Since that time, numerous individuals within her professional circle, including notable Jewish individuals, have experienced a growing sense of internal conflict regarding her discourse surrounding the war. This is primarily due to a recurring slogan she has employed, which is widely interpreted as advocating for the complete elimination of Israel.

In the end, a total of over 20 individuals decided to align themselves with the Republican party on Tuesday evening in order to formally reprimand her. This action was taken following an unsuccessful attempt earlier in the day to set aside the proposed action.

The House floor recently witnessed a significant vote in response to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which has been marked by political tensions. This vote was a part of the latest effort to censure certain individuals or actions related to the conflict. Throughout history, the majority of both political parties in the United States have consistently expressed strong support for Israel. However, in recent times, divisions have surfaced within the Democratic Party regarding the appropriate American response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Tuesday, Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat from Illinois, made a notable decision by voting alongside Republicans to move forward with the censure resolution. His reasoning behind this choice was rooted in the belief that it is crucial to engage in a thoughtful and thorough discussion surrounding the slogan "from the river to the sea."

The Jewish Democrat expressed their belief that the statement in question can be interpreted as a call for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. The user expresses their unwavering commitment to upholding the fundamental right of free speech. Tlaib possesses the freedom to express her thoughts and opinions without restriction.

The individual made an additional statement, emphasizing the importance of providing a response to the matter at hand.

The censure of a lawmaker may not have any practical consequences, but it does serve as a significant form of reproach from fellow colleagues. Typically, when a lawmaker is censured, they are required to stand in the well of the House while the censure resolution is publicly read aloud. The resolution pertaining to Tlaib did not include a provision for public admonishment.

Tlaib's recent vote has resulted in her becoming the second Muslim-American woman in Congress to receive formal admonishment this year due to her criticism of the Jewish state. In February, Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, faced consequences when she was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This action was taken in response to comments she made regarding Israel, which were deemed to be similar in nature.

President Joe Biden has faced criticism from individuals on the left who believe that he should impose certain conditions on U.S. support for Israel. This criticism stems from Israel's ongoing aggressive military campaign, which has resulted in an increasing number of Palestinian casualties.

The upcoming vote against Tlaib is occurring amidst the backdrop of the war, which adds an extraordinary element to the situation. However, it is important to note that the effort to censure her is indicative of a larger trend within the House of Representatives.

Censure has traditionally been regarded as a form of punishment that is used sparingly, typically reserved for the most severe offenses and considered a measure just short of expulsion. Censure resolutions are increasingly common in the chamber, frequently utilized in a notably partisan manner.

The opposition to censuring Tlaib from both Democrats and certain Republicans primarily revolves around concerns related to free speech and the potential establishment of a precedent.

Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, expressed his opposition to the resolution on the floor late Tuesday. He argued that the resolution not only undermines our Constitution but also diminishes the significance of discipline within the legislative body. Raskin emphasized that discipline should be reserved for individuals who have actually engaged in wrongful actions such as bribery, fraud, violent assault, and similar offenses.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a representative from Georgia, had put forth a second resolution to censure Tlaib. This resolution was set to undergo a procedural vote on Tuesday night. However, the implementation of that measure was temporarily suspended following the progression of McCormick's censure resolution towards a final vote.


Tlaib's recent censure by the chamber marks her as the 26th individual to have faced such disciplinary action. Notably, this is the second instance of censure within this year alone. In the month of June, a decision was made by Republicans to censure Adam Schiff, a Democrat representing California. This action was taken in response to comments made by Schiff several years ago regarding investigations into the alleged connections between then-President Donald Trump and Russia.

In 2021, during a period when the Democratic Party held control of the House, Republican Representative Paul Gosar from Arizona faced censure. This disciplinary action was a result of a tweet posted by Gosar, which featured an animated video portraying him striking Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York with a sword. In 2010, Democratic Representative Charlie Rangel from New York faced censure due to his involvement in significant financial and campaign misconduct.


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