BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Following Congress’s vote Tuesday to censure Rashida Tlaib for embracing an anti-Semitic trope, among other things, during the current Middle East conflict, Representative Dan Goldman explained his vote. He also accused her of inflaming violence and spreading misinformation.
The House voted 234 to 188 to censure the Michigan congresswoman, the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress. Four Republicans voted against and 22 Democrats in favor of the resolution.
“The First Amendment protects free speech — including hate speech – for all, including members of Congress,” Goldman said in a statement. “But as elected officials held to the highest integrity, we are bestowed with the public trust that confers a greater responsibility with the words we choose. We therefore must not promote hate speech nor incite violence with our comments.
“During the past month, Representative Tlaib promoted misinformation that inflamed violence around the world, including against United States embassies, and used a hurtful, anti-Semitic trope central to Hamas’s charter – ‘from the river to the sea’ – that is widely understood to call for the elimination of Israel and all of the Jews living there. This expression has been widely used in support of violent protests against Israel around the world.
“I reached out to Representative Tlaib privately, in advance of Representative McCormick’s introduction of the censure resolution, to communicate to her the hurt and harm her words have caused and how they have been received by many in the Jewish community. I urged her to make a public clarification, but she refused.
“Just like we cannot allow public officials to make racist statements against any group nor to incite violence through racist speech, we cannot allow elected officials to do the same against Jews.
“For these reasons,” Goldman said, “I voted to censure Representative Tlaib, and will do so in the future for any member who uses discriminatory hate speech against any group – including the Muslim community – and inflames violence with false statements or misinformation.”
After Israel and the U.S. contradicted one-sided reports by The New York Times and others that Israel had bombed a Gaza hospital, Tlaib continued to publicly doubt whether the explosion next to the hospital was, in fact, caused by one of the Palestinians’ own many misfired rockets.
In her defense, Tlaib posted on X that the “from the river to the sea” chant — rather than genocidal — can be seen as “aspirational”: “From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate. My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity.”
In a statement before Congress, Tlaib vowed, “I will not be silenced.”
Congress has censured only 26 individuals in its history.