Michigan Democrats bash Tlaib for Palestinian comments

Jose Luis Magana/AP
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Democratic lawmakers and officials in Michigan are rebuking remarks made by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) that justified an oft-criticized slogan popular among advocates for Palestinian rights.

On Friday, Tlaib, who is the only Palestinian American member of Congress, tweeted that “From the river to the sea is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate. My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Jeremy Moss, a Democrat, tweeted on Saturday, “Hamas uses it as a rallying cry. And they don’t simply want to displace Jews in Israel. They want Jews dead.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also condemned Tlaib’s defense of the slogan, tweeting “@RashidaTlaib, I have supported and defended you countless times, even when you have said the indefensible, because I believed you to be a good person whose heart was in the right place.”

“But this is so hurtful to so many. Please retract this cruel and hateful remark,” Nessel continued.

The rallying cry “from the river to the sea,” is popular at pro-Palestinian demonstrations and in Palestinian literature and refers to a desired Palestinian state that would stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It has been criticized as both a call for violence against Israelis and a rejection of any claims of Israel's right to exist.

Lawmakers in the state are now calling into question how Tlaib can represent her district’s Jewish communities.

“It is disturbing and enraging that Jewish communities in Southfield, Franklin, Bingham Farms, Beverly Hills and beyond are represented by someone who adopts wholesale the call for the State of Israel to be wiped from the map, necessitating the elimination of 8 million Jews,” Rep. Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield) tweeted on Saturday.

Tlaib’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The comments were not Tlaib’s only public pronouncements on the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. On Saturday, Tlaib accused President Joe Biden of supporting genocide against Palestinians by continuing to support Israel.