Rep. Rashida Tlaib Accuses Biden of Supporting “Genocide” in Gaza
Progressive Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan accused President Joe Biden of supporting “the genocide of the Palestinian people” in a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday, as the death toll in Israel’s battle against Hamas rapidly approaches 10,0,00 according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
“Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people,” read several lines of text at the end of the video, which includes clips of Israeli airstrikes hitting Gaza, injured children, and pro-Palestinian protests across the United States. “The American people won’t forget,” the video continues. “Biden, support a ceasefire now, or don’t count on us in 2024.”
The White House did not directly comment on the video.
Tlaib, who is the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, charges that “the American people are not with” Biden on the question of a ceasefire. Her argument has some data to back it up: An October 20 Data for Progress poll found that 66% of voters—including a majority of Republicans—either “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that the U.S. should support a ceasefire.
But Biden, along with the vast majority of the House and Senate, has so far declined to call for one. In comments last Wednesday, the president called for a “pause” in the fighting to get hostages out of Gaza. A week earlier, nearly every House member voted for a symbolic resolution expressing support for Israel that passed on October 25. As of Saturday, about 20 House members have signed onto a ceasefire resolution, while Iowa Democrat Dick Durbin became the first U.S. Senator to call for one.
The Michigan representative’s comments come amid mounting concerns among Democrats that Biden’s handling of the war will lose him support in Tlaib’s home state. Michigan’s significant Arab-American and Muslim population was crucial to forming the so-called “Blue Wave” that delivered the 2020 election to Biden. But recent polling shows Arab-American support for Biden dropping precipitously to an all-time low of 17 percent—a 42 percent drop since 2020, according to the Arab American Institute. Democrats in Michigan are already warning the president that his refusal to back a ceasefire and his largely unequivocal support for Israel risk alienating this crucial voting block as he approaches next year’s election.
Last week, Tlaib fought off an attempt to pass a congressional resolution censuring her for her participation in an October 18 rally at Capitol Hill led by the Jewish progressive groups Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now, both of which have described Israel’s war on Gaza as genocidal. The effort to censure Tlaib was spearheaded by GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who accused the Michigan congresswoman of engaging in “antisemitic activity, sympathizing with terrorist organizations, and leading an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol complex.” (Taylor Greene, many were quick to note, has her own antisemitic and insurrectionary history.)
“Marjorie Taylor Greene’s unhinged resolution is deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates,” Tlaib said in response to the resolution, which was effectively tabled by a 222-186 vote in the House on Wednesday. “I am proud to stand in solidarity with Jewish peace advocates calling for a ceasefire and an end to the violence.”
Tlaib is facing attack ads from Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel group and a political action committee primarily funded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is reportedly considering launching a primary challenger against her. If Hoffman decides to toss his hat into the ring, it would make the Michigan congresswoman one of several members of “The Squad,” an informal group of eight progressive House Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, to face new intra-party electoral contests over their criticisms of Israel.