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November 4, 2023

Greene’s failed try and censure Tlaib united Democrats, divided Republicans, and energized ceasefire activism.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rashida Tlaib.

(Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Name, Inc through Getty Photographs; Anna Moneymaker / Getty Photographs)

As mass demonstrations on behalf of a cease-fire to save lots of the lives of civilians in Gaza have crammed the streets of cities throughout the nation in current weeks, the US Home’s solely Palestinian-American member got here beneath fierce assault for looking for to echo these calls within the halls of Congress. However an effort to censure Consultant Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for rallying on Capitol Hill with Jewish American activists in opposition to the Israeli bombing marketing campaign that has left greater than 9,200 Palestinian kids, girls, and males lifeless failed miserably this week within the Home—because of Republicans.

The censure movement was introduced by the chamber’s most perpetually offended member, Consultant Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Greene thought she had a surefire solution to rebuke Tlaib, divide Democrats towards each other, and scare cautious members of Congress away from calling for an finish to the killing. She proposed to formally rebuke Tlaib after the Michigan Democrat addressed an October 18 Capitol Hill rally of Jewish-American peace and justice advocates that was organized by members of the teams Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now. Lots of those that rallied with Tlaib later engaged in a nonviolent protest contained in the Cannon Home Workplace Constructing, though the Detroit Democrat was not current for that demonstration, throughout which activists delivered their “not in our identify” message on to their elected representatives.

That salient element was misplaced on Greene, whose censure decision accused Tlaib of partaking in “antisemitic exercise, sympathizing with terrorist organizations, and main an revolt on the US Capitol complicated.” (Notably, Greene was stripped of her Home committee assignments throughout her first time period, after she was accused of “trafficking in racism, anti-Semitism and baseless conspiracy theories,” and seeming to advertise political violence. The assignments had been restored after Republicans took management of the chamber earlier this 12 months and California Consultant Kevin McCarthy, who developed an alliance with the Georgia Republican, turned speaker of the Home.)

Greene’s gambit to get the Home to formally reprimand Tlaib was the newest try and inflame tensions on Capitol Hill within the aftermath of the horrific October 7 assault by Hamas on Israeli kibbutzim and a music competition, which left roughly 1,400 lifeless, and the following Israeli assault on Gaza, the place the demise toll has handed 9,000—together with greater than 3,000 kids.

However Greene’s plot didn’t work as she deliberate. Fairly, it united Democrats and divided Republicans at exactly the purpose when new Home Speaker Mike Johnson, whose election Greene supported, is attempting to drag his chaotic caucus collectively. Issues bought so wild that, by the week’s finish, Greene was attacking fellow Republicans for abandoning her Islamophobic venture, whereas a prime Republican, recalling considered one of Greene’s most embarrassing statements, suggested the Georgian to “go chase so-called Jewish area lasers.”

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Cover of November 13/20, 2023

Fairly than being silenced, Tlaib emerged from the fiasco as an emboldened advocate for interfaith efforts to finish the continued Israeli assault on Gaza, explaining, “As a substitute of funding extra bombs with American taxpayer {dollars}, our leaders must be calling for a ceasefire now, earlier than the violence claims hundreds extra lives.”

Tlaib, a civil rights lawyer who’s considered one of two Muslim girls serving within the Home, and who has an extended historical past of working with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian activists on behalf of peace and justice initiatives in Detroit, refused to be intimidated by Greene. That was important to the combat within the Home. The Michigan Democrat pushed again forcefully towards the censure decision.“Marjorie Taylor Greene’s unhinged decision is deeply Islamophobic and assaults peaceable Jewish anti-war advocates,” Tlaib stated.

“I’m proud to face in solidarity with Jewish peace advocates calling for a ceasefire and an finish to the violence. I can’t be bullied, I can’t be dehumanized, and I can’t be silenced. I’ll proceed to name for ceasefire, for the speedy supply of humanitarian assist, for the discharge of hostages and people arbitrarily detained, and for each American to be introduced house. I’ll proceed to work for a simply and lasting peace that upholds the human rights and dignity of all individuals, and ensures that no particular person, no little one has to endure or stay in concern of violence.”

Jewish peace and justice teams joined within the pushback, with If Not Now declaring, “Marjorie Taylor Greene is attacking Rashida Tlaib with all of those baseless claims to distract from her and her occasion’s antisemitism and white supremacy. If Republicans need to cease the supply of actual antisemitism within the US…the decision’s coming from inside the home.”

Home Democrats stepped up as properly. Some defended Tlaib from the beginning, together with Vermont Consultant Becca Balint, who dusted off a censure decision of her personal towards Greene. Arguing that the Georgian was “the one spreading the antisemitism, the Islamophobia,” Balint stated that Greene was having “a corrosive impact on the democracy as an entire.” Consultant Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) declared that “censuring Rashida seems to be like racism and xenophobia,” whereas Consultant Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) stated, “Rashida Tlaib is doing what her district elected her to do: advocate for a greater, safer, extra simply world. Her voice and her management are important.”

Even Democrats who disagreed with Tlaib on Center East points signaled that they might reject the censure transfer, and it turned clear that Greene’s effort to drive a wedge between Democrats who assist a cease-fire and people who oppose it could fail. However in a Republican-controlled Home, the decision nonetheless may have handed.

Sadly for Greene, her hyper-partisan try and seize a headline proved to be so shameless that a number of the Home’s most conservative Republicans refused to go together with her.

A transfer to desk Greene’s decision, which successfully killed it, handed by a 222-186 vote. The “sure” votes got here from 199 Democrats and 23 Republicans. The Republicans who broke with Greene weren’t embracing Tlaib’s advocacy for Palestinian rights. Fairly, they had been saying that Greene was off the rails. For example, whereas he stated that he felt that a few of what the Democrat had stated was “egregious,” Georgia Republican Richard McCormick, some of the conservative members of the chamber, stated, “I don’t suppose that Congresswoman Tlaib was violent. I don’t suppose that she was attempting to overthrow a authorities.”

One other vote to desk the censure movement got here from Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie, the one member of the GOP caucus who voted with Tlaib and a handful of progressive Democrats towards a Home decision that final week condemned Hamas’s October 7 terrorist assault on civilians and inspired navy assist to Israel however didn’t handle Israel’s bombing of densely populated areas in Gaza.

Greene was livid. She posted lists of Republicans who had voted to desk her decision, referring to them as “pathetic” and complaining, “Conservatives on this checklist conceal behind excuses with their white wigs on and quote the structure.” She was significantly indignant with US Consultant Chip Roy, a Texas Republican who has change into a key participant within the occasion’s Home caucus. After Roy argued that Greene had supplied a decision that was “deeply flawed and made legally and factually unverified claims,” Greene fired off a collection of assaults that concluded with the Georgian telling the white-bearded Roy, “Shut up, Colonel Sanders.”

Roy didn’t look like all that unsettled by the trade. Requested in regards to the first of Greene’s barbs, he said, “Inform her to go chase so-called Jewish area lasers if she needs to spend time on that type of factor.”

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John Nichols

John Nichols is a nationwide affairs correspondent for The Nation. He has written, cowritten, or edited over a dozen books on subjects starting from histories of American socialism and the Democratic Get together to analyses of US and world media programs. His newest, cowritten with Senator Bernie Sanders, is the New York Instances bestseller It is OK to Be Indignant About Capitalism.

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