Representative Rashida Tlaib, the sole Palestinian American in Congress, has been intensely scrutinized for her reaction to the recent confrontations in Israel and Gaza.
The critiques have grown more widespread, especially after she expressed her viewpoint on the recent Hamas strikes on Israel and the unrest in the area. She has also garnered attention for placing a Palestinian flag outside her Capitol Hill office.
While numerous U.S. legislators were quick to express their support for Israel, Tlaib underscored the suffering of both parties, commenting, “I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day.” In her statements, she characterized Israel as having an “apartheid system” and reiterated her stance on “ending the occupation.” (The Israeli military has had control over the West Bank since 1967, but they haven’t occupied Gaza since 2005.)
In a Sunday statement, she highlighted the anguish of those living under “siege, occupation, and apartheid,” advocating mutual recognition and compassion. When questioned about the actions of Hamas, Tlaib chose not to engage with reporters.
Representative Steny Hoyer extended empathy towards Tlaib, noting her Palestinian heritage while disagreeing with some of her comments. Other progressive House members, such as Representatives Cori Bush and Ilhan Omar, share Tlaib’s stance on U.S. aid to Israel, which has faced criticism.
However, some of their Democratic peers and the White House have rebuked their statements. The White House emphasized their disagreement with the progressive representatives’ viewpoints. Democratic Representatives Steve Cohen, Ritchie Torres, and Josh Gottheimer have voiced their concerns and disappointment over the comments.
While other Squad members like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley have been more measured in their remarks, Ocasio-Cortez did denounce Hamas’s actions but also appealed for empathy towards Palestinians. She also called out instances of bigotry and hatred on X (formerly Twitter).
In a reaction to Tlaib’s comments on Israel, human rights advocate Hussam Ayloush lauded her on X, commending her compassion and integrity.