Reps. Tlaib, Bush face condemnation from several congressional Democrats — and the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. 

Rep. Ritchie Torres, their Democratic House colleague, called the lawmakers’ views ‘repulsive’ and ‘reprehensible’

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) attends the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Cori Bush (D-MO) blamed U.S. military aid to Israel for contributing to the massive Hamas terror attack on Israel yesterday, which has left more than 700 Israelis dead. Tlaib also described Hamas’ actions as “resistance” to Israeli “apartheid.”

The comments come as most U.S. lawmakers have offered strong support to Israel in the conflict, without many of the typical calls for cease-fires and de-escalation by both sides in the hours following the onset of the attack. The exception to this has been members of the far-left Squad and a handful of other lawmakers aligned with them.

“I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity,” Tlaib said in a statement on Sunday. “The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”

Tlaib added that “as long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”

Bush, in a similar statement on Saturday, said she was “heartbroken” by the violence and loss of life, “following attacks by Hamas militants on Israeli border towns and Israeli military bombardment of Gaza.”

“As part of achieving a just and lasting peace, we must do our part to stop this violence and trauma by ending U.S. government support for Israeli military occupation and apartheid,” Bush continued.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) condemned the comments by his colleagues.

“U.S. aid to Israel is and should be unconditional, and never more so than in this moment of critical need,” Torres told Jewish Insider in a statement. “Shame on anyone who glorifies as ‘resistance’ the largest single-day mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust. It is reprehensible and repulsive.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) highlighted the barbarism committed by Hamas terrorists in his own response.

“Two of my colleagues called for America to end assistance to Israel, despite the countless images of Israeli children, women, men, and elderly, including Americans, murdered by radical Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists,” Gottheimer told JI. “It sickens me that while Israelis clean the blood of their family members shot in their homes, they believe Congress should strip U.S. funding to our democratic ally and allow innocent civilians to suffer.”

Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), who serves in the Michigan delegation with Tlaib, distanced herself from Tlaib’s comments in a statement to JI.

“We must continue to come together as a Congress and a country to disavow terrorism and support the Jewish state, our democratic ally, Israel,” Stevens said. “Israel has a right to exist and defend herself.”

None of the other Democratic members of Michigan’s House delegation responded to requests for comment.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog responded directly to Tlaib, in an impassioned statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“How much more blood needs to be spilled for you to overcome your prejudice and unequivocally condemn Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror organization?” Herzog wrote. “Hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians massacred in cold blood on a holy day. Babies kidnapped from their mother’s arms and taken to Gaza. An 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair and a Holocaust survivor taken hostage. Is that not enough, @RashidaTlaib?”

At the same time, a number of New York Democrats condemned a Democratic Socialists of America rally on Sunday in New York’s Times Square expressing “solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the rally “ill-timed” and “cold-hearted.”

“We’ve seen unprecedented viciousness coming from Hamas aimed at innocent families and children,” Schumer said. “Everyone — no matter your views — should condemn this brutal act.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said, “The NYC-DSA is revealing itself for what it truly is — a deep rot of antisemitism.”

He added, “There is a special place in hell for those who glorify the cold blooded murder of civilians and children… The DSA should be universally condemned for its genocidal celebration of Israel’s destruction.”

Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) called the rally “an absolute disgrace” and “blatant antisemitism.”

“These actions are an insult to the memories of the innocent men, women, and children brutally murdered,” Ryan continued.

Through a spokesperson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) also condemned the rally.

“Leader Hakeem Jeffries strongly and unequivocally condemns the hate-filled rally held by the DSA in [NYC] and any effort to support the barbaric, inhumane and despicable terrorist attack by Hamas on the State of Israel and its citizens,” spokesperson Andy Eichar said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the rally was “abhorrent and morally repugnant.”

Former Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), who is currently running for a House seat in the New York City suburbs, said that “no one should support terrorist attacks against Israel” and that “today’s rally by the NYC DSA is despicable.” He added that “Hamas alone is responsible for this heinous violence.”

Brad Lander, the left-wing NYC comptroller who has in the past called for conditioning U.S. aid to Israel — and is affiliated with the DSA — disavowed the group’s rally.

“Today’s DSA rally — which effectively celebrated Hamas’ murder & kidnapping of hundreds of Israeli civilians, including children & grandparents — was abominable,” Lander said. “There is no place for glorifying terror, left, center, or right.”

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