Rep. Rashida Tlaib accused of antisemitism for video accusing Biden of backing ‘genocide’

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, faced renewed charges of antisemitism over a video accusing President Biden of supporting Palestinian “genocide” that includes a chant widely viewed as a call for Israel’s destruction.

Ms. Tlaib’s video released Friday broke with Democratic Party protocol by taking a direct shot at Mr. Biden while urging him to back an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire.

“Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people,” said a caption at the end of the 90-second video. “The American people won’t forget. Biden, support a ceasefire now.”

The spot included footage of pro-Palestinian protests in states such as Michigan, where demonstrators yelled “from the river to the sea,” the first part of a slogan that ends, “Palestine will soon be free.”

“Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one,” said Ms. Tlaib in the ad. “We will remember in 2024.”

The backlash was immediate. Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, tweeted: “Insane. Rashida Tlaib is literally an extension of the propaganda machine of Hamas.”

The Republican National Committee called it a “disturbing pro-Hamas video.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Independent, posted a map showing that Israel lies between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

“We hear ‘from the river to the sea’ chanted at US protests. It’s on posters, even projected on university buildings,” said Ms. Sinema on X. “Here’s a map. See what ‘from the river to the sea’ means. It means eradicating the state of Israel. It’s about eliminating Jews. It’s hate speech. It’s antisemitism.”

The video came a day after Ms. Tlaib, the House’s only Palestinian-American and a member of the House’s far-left “squad,” survived a House censure effort over accusations of “antisemitic activity.”

Jason Bedrick, research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that “Tlaib’s ad calls for a ceasefire, but only for Israel.”

“The same ad says ‘no peace on stolen land’ and ‘from the River to the Sea’ — in other words, no end to violence against Jews until Israel has been destroyed,” Mr. Bedrick tweeted. “Couldn’t be clearer. Tlaib supports genocide.”

A few hours later, Ms. Tlaib posted a defense of the video, insisting that it wasn’t hateful.

“From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate,” she said on X. “My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity.”

The American Jewish Committee described the slogan as “a common call-to-arms for pro-Palestinian activists, especially student activists on college campuses.”

“It calls for the establishment of a State of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, erasing the State of Israel and its people,” said the AJC on its website. “It is also a rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathizers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to Hamas.”

The group added that there is “of course nothing antisemitic about advocating for Palestinians to have their own state.”

“However, calling for the elimination of the Jewish state, praising Hamas or other entities who call for Israel‘s destruction, or suggesting that the Jews alone do not have the right to self-determination, is antisemitic,” the committee said.

Israel declared war after terrorists launched a surprise attack Oct. 7 from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip that killed more than 1,400 Israeli civilians.

Mr. Biden immediately expressed strong support for Israel, putting himself at odds with the Democratic Party’s far-left wing, which has called on him to back a ceasefire.

Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, skirted questions Friday about the Tlaib video while saying she supports a ceasefire “within the context of supporting Israel and its security.”

“You’ve got to understand Congresswoman Tlaib’s points of view and her personal history with her family and her grandmother in Ramallah,” said Ms. Lee on CNN.

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