After Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) canceled a “Nakba Day” event to be hosted at the U.S. Capitol, featuring a presentation by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the Senate wound up providing a new venue for it.
The event, called “Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People,” took place on Wednesday night with the sponsorship of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing Room, located at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) also attended.
During her speech, Tlaib said that the nakba, which means “catastrophe” in Arabic and refers to the establishment of the modern-day State of Israel, “never ended.” “Each year, our country sends billions to explicitly maintain an apartheid state and support ethnic cleansing without a second thought,” she continued.
The use of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” falsehoods were similar to accusations Tlaib made on Twitter earlier this month and that earned the rebuke of Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan.
The nine sponsors of the event were at the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU); Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action); Project48; Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN); US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR); American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Virginia Coalition for Human Rights (VCHR); Emgage Action; and Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVP Action).
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said he disapproved of the event, adding that “the Capitol grounds should not be used as a pedestal to legitimize antisemitic bigotry.”
Sanders faced criticisms for endorsing antisemitism from other Jewish anti-defamation groups.
“It is disgraceful that Bernie Sanders allowed this event by Rashida Tlaib to be held in our nation’s Capitol,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement slamming Senator Sanders. “Real conversations are needed around a path to peace, but not with groups & individuals who espouse antisemitism. We call on the Senate to condemn this event.”
Greenblatt and Cassidy not only criticized the event taking place on the Capitol, but viewing it as an act of political activism on the Capitol.
The Democrat progressive wing of the party that includes Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, John Fetterman, and Elizabeth Warren. None of these office holders hold a positive view on Israel. Bernie Sanders is the only progressive who’s not a registered Democrat.
McCarthy stated he would host an even that would honor U.S.-Israeli relations.
“I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship,” McCarthy said of taking a different approach to the event.
President Joe Biden has had a hostile relationship with Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu over judicial reforms that affect democracy. McCarthy had stated he would host Netanyahu in the United States rather than Biden.
Republicans have controlled the House since January winning the midterms by a slim margin. The Democrats held control of Congress for four years since 2018 as Nancy Pelosi was the previous Speaker of the House.
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