House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday blocked PA Arab-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) antisemitic congressional event she was planning for Wednesday (Speaker McCarthy 86s Rashida Tlaib’s 1948 Nakba Day). The event was supposed to commemorate the Nakba––that’s the declaration of Jewish independence in the Land of Israel, to you and me.
The Speaker tweeted: “This event in the US Capitol is canceled. Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship.”
Tlaib’s event was held in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing Room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, a panel chaired by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
https://t.co/JfEOGSOFsi via @nypost
— IBSI (@IbsiNow) May 11, 2023
Enter Sen. Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, who invited Tlaib to move the festivities out of the Capitol Visitor Center and celebrate her Nakba Day event in his committee hearing room, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Sanders y Tlaib se unen en acto contra Israel en el Capitolio
Bernie Sanders fue anfitrión de un evento organizado por la diputada Rashid Tlaib, en el que se tildó a Israel como un “Estado de apartheid”.https://t.co/Xdy0cuCQ34
— Noticias de Israel (@estadoisrael) May 11, 2023
Tlaib tweeted photos from Wednesday evening’s event, accompanied by the statement: “Speaker McCarthy wants to rewrite history and erase the existence and truth of the Palestinian people, but he has failed to do so.”
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) May 11, 2023
Anti-Defamation League national director Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted in response: “It is disgraceful that Sen. Sanders allowed this event by Rep Rashida Tlaib to be held in our nation’s Capitol. 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 also tweeted: “Grateful that Speaker McCarthy took rapid action. There’s room to talk about the issues – but not at an event co-sponsored by people who traffic in antisemitism and hate.”
On Tuesday, Greenblatt sent McCarthy a letter alerting him to Tlaib’s event in the Capitol Visitor Center:
Dear Mr. Speaker:
I write to alert you to an event featuring Representative Rashida Tlaib that is taking place on Wednesday, May 10th at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center entitled, “Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People.”
In previous years, many Nakba Day events have devolved into hateful, anti-Israel, and even antisemitic language. Just last year, in May 2022, speakers at Nakba Day events across the country variously referred to Israelis as the “stench of white European invaders,” called for “death to Israel” and stated that “everyone should fight within his means. They will fight with stones. Others will fight with guns. Others will fight with planes and drones. And others will fight with rockets.”
Moreover, we know that Representative Tlaib herself has used incendiary and offensive language about Israel (using the “Apartheid” slander as recently as this week).
Finally, we are concerned that the co-organizers and certain speakers have a record of rhetoric that demonizes and delegitimizes Israel, as well as dangerous stereotypes about Israel’s supporters. These organizations include Jewish Voice for Peace Action and Americans for Justice in Palestine Action. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) advocates for the boycott of Israel and the eradication of Zionism and does not represent the mainstream Jewish community, which JVP characterizes as bigoted for its association with Israel and Zionism. Americans for Justice in Palestine Action is an affiliate of American Muslims for Palestine, an anti-Israel organization that has explicitly called for a boycott of most of the “Zionist” American Jewish community, including Jewish Federations, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Hillel. Both AMP leaders and JVP have espoused classic antisemitic tropes and expressed support for violence against Israel. Examples of such rhetoric from these two organizations include:
May 2022: On Instagram, JVP posted a cartoon depicting Israeli soldiers joyously drinking the blood of dead Palestinians.
August 2021: AMP Chairman Hatem Bazian re-tweeted an antisemitic cartoon depicting an Israeli soldier organ harvesting the heart of a deceased Palestinian man.
This event is happening tomorrow. I ask that greater scrutiny be given to such events, including this one, in the Capitol Complex to ensure that Congressional-controlled areas are not being used to espouse discriminatory and hateful rhetoric. I appreciate your attention to this matter.
CEO and National Director
Cc: Hakeem Jeffries
Interestingly, when approached by the NY Times for a comment, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said: “I’m unfamiliar with the specifics of that at the moment.”
Does it mean Jeffries doesn’t read the letters ADL sends him?
Squad member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), told the NYT Speaker McCarthy’s decision to ban Nakba parties from the House was “terrible,” and added: “I think the anti-Palestinian sentiment in D.C., in general, has long been normalized, and it’s very clear that McCarthy is trying to send a message.”
OK, looks like message received.