A vote to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D–Mich.) over inflammatory, pro-Hamas comments calling for the elimination of Israel, prompted a strange exercise for members of the San Joaquin Valley Congressional delegation.
Driving the news: The censure resolution was driven largely by comments Tlaib made in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas, including repeated references to the restoration of Palestine “from the river to the sea,” a statement considered by the Anti-Defamation League to be a genocidal call for the elimination of Israel.
- In sum, 22 House Democrats voted to buck the party line and support the GOP-led censure of Tlaib on Tuesday night.
- Meanwhile, an additional four Republicans bucked the party position and voted against the measure.
Valley’s view: Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) and Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) voted in support of the censure resolution. Rep. Josh Harder (D–Tracy) voted against it.
- Half of the Republicans voting against Tlaib’s censure came from the San Joaquin Valley, with Reps. Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove) and John Duarte (R–Modesto) joining Reps. Ken Buck (R–Colo.) and Thomas Massie (R–Ky.).
- Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) joined his GOP neighbors Valadao and McCarthy and 21 other House Democrats and supported the resolution.
What they’re saying: Duarte previously voted to approve a motion to table the censure resolution last week.
- ” I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself, and unequivocally condemn Hamas’ terrorism, brutality, and inhumanity. We have a responsibility to stand with the Israeli government to stop this egregious behavior from progressing any further. Furthermore, the uptick in antisemitism around the country is deeply alarming, and we must do everything in our power to stand against this hatred towards the Jewish people,” Duarte said in a statement at the time.
- “Some in the House of Representatives have even floated such rhetoric. What is being expressed by Representative Tlaib and others concerning Hamas’s terrorism has been appalling, infuriating, and disgusting. I vehemently disagree with her ignorant statements about the war in Israel. But however much her comments disturb me, she still has a First Amendment right to free speech to voice these views, however ridiculous they may be. That is why I voted to table the motion to censure Tlaib.”
- “Every American is entitled to free speech. But it’s not appropriate to use inflammatory language and dangerous rhetoric that fuels Hamas’s narrative of disinformation and promotes videos containing chants of ‘from the river to the sea’ – a known rallying cry used by terrorists to call for the destruction of the Jewish state, Israel,” Costa said in a statement on Wednesday.
- “This is not the same thing as supporting the Palestinian people, which I do. As members of Congress, we have a responsibility to measure our words and rebuke any misinformation that is fueling the divisions in our country. There must be accountability because words matter.”