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Only 9 House Reps Vote Against Resolution Denying Israeli Apartheid

Rashida Tlaib reminded lawmakers that support for South African apartheid had similar bipartisan support.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib listens during testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on July 18, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution vowing perpetual allyship with Israel and denying the country’s apartheid against Palestinians on Tuesday night, just days after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) criticized Israel’s violent oppression and far right regime over the weekend.

The legislation, which states that “Israel is not a racist or apartheid state” despite mountains of evidence and expert agreement showing the opposite, passed 412 to 9, with one lawmaker, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) voting “present.”

It had extensive bipartisan support, with all Republicans and 195 Democrats voting “yes.” One “yes” vote came from Jayapal, who has been the target of harassment from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for days now over a statement calling Israel “a racist state” and asserting that “the Palestinian people deserve self-determination and autonomy.”

The “no” votes came from Democratic Representatives Jamaal Bowman (New York), Cori Bush (Missouri), André Carson (Indiana), Summer Lee (Pennsylvania), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), Delia Ramirez (Illinois) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).

The House vote came together with rare bipartisan support seemingly to condemn and isolate Jayapal while also once again asserting U.S. lawmakers’ strong backing of Israel’s fascist regime.

In a fiery speech on the House floor Tuesday, Tlaib — the sole Palestinian member of Congress — rebuked lawmakers for “reaffirming Congress’s support for apartheid.”

“Let’s just get the record straight here… The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Israel’s own largest human rights organization, B’Tselem, all agree that Israel is an apartheid state. To assert otherwise, Mr. Speaker, in the face of this body of evidence, is an attempt to deny the reality and to normalize violence of apartheid,” Tlaib said.

“This week, we’re gonna hear consistently people touting about, ‘oh, this is bipartisan support here.’ Well don’t forget: This body, this Congress, supported a South African apartheid regime, and it was bipartisan as well,” she continued.

The lawmaker went on to quote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own words about his regime’s hatred of Palestinians.

“Beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up … until it’s unbearable,” Netanyahu once said, as Tlaib noted. She pointed out another time, recently, when Netanyahu said that Israel must “crush” Palestinians’ hopes for sovereignty, as well as when former defense minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan said in 2013 that Palestinians are “beasts” and “not human.”

The resolution’s passage comes as Israeli President Isaac Herzog is in the U.S. to visit with the White House and deliver an address to Congress on Wednesday. Progressive lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez, Bush and Tlaib have vowed to boycott the speech.

“Bestowing President Herzog with the rare honor of a joint address to Congress while the Israeli apartheid government continues to enable and directly support racism and brutal settler attacks is a slap in the face to victims, survivors, and their loved ones — including the families of Americans murdered by this regime like Shireen Abu Akleh and Omar Assad,” Tlaib and Bush said in a joint statement.

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