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Tipsheet

Kevin McCarthy Cancels Rashida Tlaib's Anti-Semitic Event Ahead of Israel's 75th Anniversary

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was ready to put for her anti-Israel, anti-Semitic views on display at the U.S. Capitol to mark Israel's founding as a "Nakba," or "catastrophe." On Tuesday night, however, the eve of when it was supposed to take place, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blocked the event from taking place. The Washington Free Beacon, which also reported on the event that was supposed to take place, first reported on McCarthy's move to step in.

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"It’s wrong for members of Congress to traffic in anti-Semitic tropes about Israel," McCarthy told the Washington Free Beacon. "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."

An event will still be going on, though it will be a positive one. The speaker will instead be hosting a bipartisan briefing celebrating the 75th anniversary and the relationship between Israel and the United States. 

As the initial report pointed out, while Tlaib was listed as being a "special guest" on the invitation to the "Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People: An Educational Community Event," the event was set to take place at the Capitol Visitor Center, which only a sitting member of Congress can approve.

"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," the invitation read, referring to Israel's founding. It goes on to bill the event as an educational one.

"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," it continued.

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The event had been organized by 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).

Such groups are not only anti-semitic, but hold other concerning views, as the Washington Free Beacon raised:

Tlaib's cosponsors include Jewish Voice for Peace, a "radical anti-Israel activist group" that pushes the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and has come under fire for glorifying Palestinian terrorism. Other organizers include Emgage Action, another BDS supporter that claims Israel is an "apartheid state," and Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, an advocacy group that claims Jewish money is infecting politics.

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Other cosponsors include Democracy for the Arab World Now, which is led by prominent anti-Israel advocate Sarah Leah Whitson. Whitson formerly worked at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, the Free Beacon reported. Pro-BDS groups, such as the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the American Friends Service Committee, also are sponsoring the event.

Nakba ceremonies have long fomented anti-Israel attitudes and descended "into expressions of support for terror groups or attacks against Israelis," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

A speaker at a Dearborn, Mich., Nakba day event last year "endorsed rocket and knife attacks," according to the ADL. A speaker in the Bay Area, meanwhile, "led a chant of 'no Zionism in our town!'"

This rhetoric, the ADL says, "constitutes a wholesale attack on American Jews, a majority of whom view a connection with Israel, and support for its right to exist, as part of their Jewish religious, cultural, and/or ethnic identities."

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In a thread about the anniversary, the IMEU group brought up the idea of an "ongoing Nakba," making such claims as how Israel is "oppressing [Palestinians] through brutal apartheid rule."

Emgage Action had also endorsed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), who served as governor from 2014-2018 and ran again in 2021, though he lost to now Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican. That McAuliffe was "honored” and “tremendously grateful” for the endorsement was not only concerning given the group's stances, but it also represented a flip-flop from McAuliffe on Israel. 

McCarthy's move to step in came as the Coalition for Jewish Values sent a letter expressing concern and asking the House and Senate to condemn the event.

Several other pro-Israel groups shared the article from Adam Kredo to celebrate the development. 

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A desire to be part of such an event is hardly surprising given Tlaib's history of vocal anti-Israel views and she's even lashed out against fellow Democrats on the issue when it comes to condemning the Biden administration for keeping the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Members of her own party also took issue with her point made last September that "you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government."

While the congresswoman had yet to tweet on Wednesday morning about the event being canceled by McCarthy, she did last Friday retweet the Sarah Lee Whitson mentioned above by the Washington Free Beacon. The article was from Haaretz, about the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, a bill Tlaib co-sponsored, as did other Squad members.

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