Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) on Wednesday slammed Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for claiming that individuals cannot be considered progressive if they support Israel. (House Democrat slams Tlaib)
In remarks at an American Muslims for Palestine event on Tuesday, Tlaib — who is Palestinian American — spoke out against the “apartheid government of Israel” before vowing to “push back” on the idea that individuals can be progressive and pro-Israel.“I want you all to know that among progressives it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government, and we will continue to push back and not accept this idea that you are progressive except for Philistine any longer,” Tlaib said. (House Democrat slams)
Wasserman Schultz denounced Tlaib’s comments, labelling them “antisemitic” and arguing that progressivism and support for Israel are not mutually exclusive. (House Democrat slams Tlaib)
“The outrageous progressive litmus test on Israel by @RashidaTlaib is nothing short of antisemitic. Proud progressives do support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. Suggesting otherwise is shameful and dangerous. Divisive rhetoric does not lead to peace,” she wrote on Twitter.
Tlaib and some other progressive Democrats — particularly those in the “Squad,” including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — have been critical of Israel in the past, raising concerns about how Palestinians are treated in the country.
On Wednesday, Axios reported that Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid would voice support for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, which he is slated to deliver Thursday. (House Democrat slams)
Wasserman Schultz was not the only lawmaker to speak out against Tlaib’s comments. On Wednesday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) — who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — rejected his colleague’s claim, writing on Twitter that he embraces both positions and identities.
“I fundamentally reject the notion that one cannot support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state and be progressive,” Nadler wrote.
“I proudly embrace both of these political positions and identities, even as I have criticized some of the policies and actions of democratically-elected Israeli governments over time. I would happily put my progressive record and credentials up against anyone. It is both wrong and self-defeating for progressive leaders to abide such an offensive litmus test,” he added in subsequent tweets. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also denounced Tlaib’s comments, calling them “absolutely reprehensible” and antisemitic. (House Democrat slams)
“In one sentence, @RepRashida simultaneously tells American Jews that they need to pass an anti-Zionist litmus test to participate in progressive spaces even as she doubles down on her #antisemitism by slandering Israel as an apartheid state,” he wrote on Twitter. (House Democrat slams Tlaib)
“It’s absolutely reprehensible and does nothing to advance the cause of peace. We call on people of goodwill and leaders across the political spectrum to make clear that such #antisemitism will not be tolerated,” he added.