by Reese Gorman in the Washington Examiner
After having her “Nakba Day” event canceled by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (R-MI) had it moved to the Senate side of the Capitol, where it was held in the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Nakba means “the catastrophe” and is a term used by many Arabs to refer to the birth of Israel. McCarthy originally canceled the event, which was supposed to be held Wednesday at the Capitol Visitors Center, saying it is “wrong for members of Congress to traffic in anti-Semitic tropes about Israel.”
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But, after it was canceled, Tlaib was allowed to use a Senate hearing room for the event.
“Speaker McCarthy wants to rewrite history and erase the existence and truth of the Palestinian people, but he has failed to do so,” Tlaib said in a statement. “We fully plan on moving forward with this event, and we will continue to ensure that Palestinian voices are heard. We will not be silenced.”
But, the use of the room came much to the surprise of ranking member on the Senate HELP Committee, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who said he was not told the hearing room would be used for the event and he “wholeheartedly” disapproves of the room being used for a “divisive event.”
“Capitol Grounds should not be used as a pedestal to legitimize anti-Semitic bigotry,” Cassidy said.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, The Coalition for Jewish Values, an advocacy group for Israel with over 2,000 rabbis, sent a letter on Tuesday to congressional leaders asking them to condemn the anti-Israel event.
“It is unsurprising but appalling that the featured speaker at this event will be a Member of Congress who describes the only Middle Eastern country to give equality and voting rights to both Jews and Arabs as ‘apartheid,'” the letter reads. “We hope that our request will meet with your favorable response and that you will condemn this event in the strongest terms as soon as possible.”
At a press conference Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said that “every American has the right to free speech,” but he “is going to be loud and clear that we have an ally in Israel, and we are going to stand by our ally Israel.”
Originally published in the Washington Examiner
Photo Credit: Phil Roeder on Flickr