- Written by Sam Cabral and Nadine Yousif
- bbc news
House Republicans have introduced two separate measures to reprimand Democrats after their comments on the Israel-Gaza war drew cross-party criticism.
Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, had posted a video accusing President Joe Biden of supporting genocide in Gaza.
The White House and several Democratic lawmakers criticized this and other comments.
Tlaib said her colleagues were “more focused on silencing me than saving lives.”
In a video posted on social media on Friday, Tlaib addressed President Biden directly and called for a ceasefire.
The video of Biden expressing support for Israel was followed by footage of the dead and injured in the Gaza Strip and of pro-Palestinian protests across the United States.
At the end of the video was a caption that read, “Joe Biden supported the genocide of Palestinians.” “The American people will not forget.”
The video also shows people chanting the slogan “From River to Sea”, which calls for Palestinian control of all land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, including Israel.
This interpretation is disputed by some pro-Palestinian activists, most of whom are calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza, rather than the destruction of Israel itself. He claims that he is not asking for.
Tlaib, who represents a Michigan district that includes parts of Detroit and Dearborn, is one of only three Muslim members of Congress. She has long been an unflinching critic of Israel, angering party leaders and pro-Israel groups.
Learn more about the Israel-Gaza war
She defended her recent comments, saying the slogan was “not death, destruction and hatred, but an aspirational call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence.”
But the comments drew criticism from all quarters, including her state’s Democratic supporters.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a tweet to Tlaib that the use of the phrase was “harmful.”
“I have stood by you and defended you countless times, even when you said indefensible things, because I believed you to be a good person. This cruel and hateful statement,” Nessel said. Please withdraw it.”
Michigan Senate President Pro Tem Jeremy Moss, also a Democrat, said Tlaib’s comments were insensitive to Jews.
On Monday, Georgia Republican Rich McCormick introduced a resolution accusing Tlaib of “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel and spreading dangerous false narratives.”
Meanwhile, other progressive Congressional Democrats, like Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, declined to endorse Tlaib’s comments.
White House deputy national security adviser John Feiner said Sunday that the Biden administration disagrees with “some of that messaging and some of the terminology used to describe this conflict.”
The October 7 Hamas attack left more than 1,400 Israelis dead. Since then, Israeli attacks have killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
The Biden administration has so far stopped short of calling for a ceasefire, but has become increasingly cautious in its language on the conflict as it seeks to balance competing interests.
Biden has repeatedly said he supports Israel’s right to defend itself, while advocating for a pause in fighting to allow humanitarian aid, food and water to Gaza.