The House voted late Tuesday to censure Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, “for promoting false narratives” about the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, a charge she adamantly denied in a floor speech before the 234-188 tally was counted.
The resolution, brought by Representative Richard McCormick, a Georgia Republican, comes during a fierce debate on college campuses and elsewhere over the boundaries of free speech in connection with the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, with some staunch critics of the Israeli government being accused of antisemitism for their statements.
McCormick’s measure was supported by 212 Republicans and 22 Democrats, while four GOP lawmakers joined 184 Democrats in voting no.
The resolution to censure Tlaib, Congress’s sole Palestinian American, also accused her of “calling for the destruction of the State of Israel,” according to the House clerk’s official website.
The resolution stated that on Nov. 3, Tlaib posted a video on social media containing the phrase “from the river to the sea,” which it said is “widely recognized as a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel and its people,” an assertion disputed by pro-Palestinian activists. The resolution said she had defended Hamas’s attack on Israel as justified resistance to an “apartheid state.”
Tlaib rejected the characterizations of her commentary during a passionate floor speech Tuesday.
She said her criticism of Israel has always been directed toward its government and its leadership under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose administration has responded to the Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,400 Israelis with a relentless campaign of bombardment and ground assaults in Gaza that has left more than 10,000 people dead, according to the health ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. More than 200 people were also taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7.
“It is important to separate people and government,” she said. “The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent. And it’s been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.”
Here’s a rundown of how each House member from New England voted:
Massachusetts — Every member of the state’s all-Democratic House delegation voted against censure, including representatives Jake Auchincloss, Katherine Clark, Bill Keating, Stephen F. Lynch, Jim McGovern, Seth Moulton, Richard Neal, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan.
New Hampshire — Democrats Ann M. Kuster and Chris Pappas diverged, with Kuster voting against censure and Pappas voting for it.
Rhode Island — Democrat Seth Magaziner voted against censure. (Representative-elect Gabe Amo, a Democrat, was chosen Tuesday to fill the state’s other House seat.)
Maine — Democrat Jared F. Golden voted for censure, while Democrat Chellie Pingree voted against the measure.
Connecticut — The five members of the state’s House delegation — Democrats Joe Courtney, Rosa L. DeLauro, Jahana Hayes, James A. Himes, and John B. Larson — voted against censure.
Vermont — Democrat Becca Balint voted against censure.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.