Rashida Tlaib Reignites Dem Family Feud Over Israel

·3 min read
Bill Pugliano
Bill Pugliano

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is facing heat from her own Democratic colleagues on Wednesday one day after stating “that among progressives, it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government.”

Tlaib made the remark, first reported by The Jerusalem Post, at an online seminar held by Americans for Justice in Palestine Action and co-sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine. Within hours of the article posting, her fellow Democrats began to respond by condemning her suggestion that progressivism and pro-Israel policies cannot co-exist.

“The outrageous progressive litmus test on Israel by @RashidaTlaib is nothing short of antisemitic. Proud progressives do support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. Suggesting otherwise is shameful and dangerous. Divisive rhetoric does not lead to peace,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted.

“I fundamentally reject the notion that one cannot support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and be a progressive,” tweeted Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, like Tlaib.

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“There are progressive activists, progressive students, and progressive Members of Congress whose support of democratic Israel is fundamentally a part of their progressive values. They all belong at the table. We will not be silenced,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) posted.

“It’s not progressive to advocate for the end of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. It’s not progressive to oppose the life-saving Iron Dome. Supporting the only democratic state in the Middle East IS progressive,” fellow CPC member Rep. Juan Vargas wrote, alluding to Tlaib’s vote against funding for the Iron Dome, one of Israel’s key defense systems.

Contrary to Tlaib’s remark, Israel remains a notably divisive subject among progressives. During the Iron Dome vote, for instance, only eight Democrats voted against the bill, including Tlaib and other members of the so-called progressive “squad.” That left-most flank of progressives have long been pushing for reforms focused on uplifting Palestinians.

Tlaib is the only Palestinian-American in Congressand one of only three Muslims.

But there are more than 100 members on the CPC’s roster, many of whom continue to express support for Israel in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Nadler, for one, in 2021 penned an opinion piece in the New York Times titled, “Democrats Have Not Changed Their Position On Israel.”

“With mutual strategic objectives in the Middle East, America is safer when Israel is safer,” he wrote.

But Tlaib, whose office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is unlikely to back away from the fight. This isn’t the first time she’s ruffled her fellow Democrats’ feathers for speaking out against Israel. In a floor speech last year, she condemned Israel as committing an “apartheid” and suggesting the country is “racist.” Earlier this year, Tlaib chose to give a response to Biden’s State of the Union address.

Tlaib’s comments on Israel have also made her a frequent target of the right and pro-Israel activists, who’ve repeatedly insisted her remarks amount to anti-semitism.

But in her remarks Tuesday, Tlaib vowed to be a continuing fighter for Palestine in Congress, and doubled down on her bar for progressives in office.

“We will continue to push back and not accept this idea that you are progressive except for Palestine,” she said.

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