Liberal “squad” member Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) announced on Wednesday that she planned to defy House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and hold an event recognizing al-Nakba — “the catastrophe” — which is how many Arabs refer to the creation of the Israeli state and the time since.
McCarthy nixed the event, which was scheduled for Wednesday, saying in a statement, “It’s wrong for members of Congress to traffic in antisemitic tropes about Israel. As long as I’m speaker, we are going to support Israel’s right to self-determination and self-defense, unequivocally and in a bipartisan fashion.”
“This event in the U.S. Capitol is canceled,” McCarthy tweeted. “Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
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. https://t.co/s6YXltFOhu
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) May 10, 2023
But Tlaib responded with a statement of her own on Wednesday afternoon, declaring her intention to forge ahead with or without McCarthy’s approval.
NEW: @RashidaTlaib says she’s not backing down from holding an event tonight commemorating the Nakba, even after @SpeakerMcCarthy said he will move to block it from happening. pic.twitter.com/ckdpGMHP27
— Daniel Boguslaw (@DRBoguslaw) May 10, 2023
“Speaker McCarthy wants to rewrite history and erase the existence and truth of the Palestinian people, but he has failed to do so. This event is planned to bring awareness about the Nakba and create space for Palestinian Americans who experienced the Nakba firsthand to tell their stories of trauma and survival,” Tlaib said.
“We fully plan on moving forward with this event and we will continue to ensure that Palestinian voices are heard. We will not be silenced,” she added.
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The Eventbrite page describes Tlaib’s event as follows:
May 15th marks 75 years since the beginning of the Nakba, which means ‘catastrophe.’ Seventy-five years ago, Zionist militias and the new Israeli military violently expelled approximately three-quarters of all Palestinians from their homes and homeland in what became the state of Israel.
To uplift the experiences of Palestinians who underwent the Nakba, and educate Members of Congress and their staff about this history and the ongoing Nakba to which Israel continues to subject Palestinians, we’ve partnered together to host this congressional and community educational event, to be followed immediately afterward by dinner.
Organizers for the event included 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).
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt backed McCarthy’s move to cancel the event, saying that it was fine to have a conversation about the issues — “but not at an event co-sponsored by people who traffic in #antisemitism and #hate.”
Grateful @SpeakerMcCarthy 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. https://t.co/BM4FZe4r6s https://t.co/psyf8pUEyO
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) May 10, 2023