NEW: Tlaib responds to critics regarding her stance on violence in Israel and Gaza

By: - October 11, 2023 2:59 pm

U.S. Rep Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, April 22, 2019 | Ken Coleman

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) responded Wednesday about the latest violence in Israel and Gaza in a comment first reported in the Advance. 

This was 72 hours after the initial statement from Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who’s a frequent critic of Israel, was slammed by many Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike for not condemning Hamas, an Islamic militant group that last week launched surprise attacks against Israel, including beheadings. 

Tlaib grieves Palestinian and Israeli lives lost after Hamas attacks, calls for end of ‘apartheid’

This was the deadliest day in the Jewish State in a half-century since the Yom Kippur War. Israel has since declared war and the death toll has topped 1,200 people, including 22 Americans. 

“I do not support the targeting and killing of civilians, whether in Israel or Palestine,” Tlaib first told the Advance on Wednesday. “The fact that some have suggested otherwise is offensive and rooted in bigoted assumptions about my faith and ethnicity.” 

In her first statement on Sunday, Tlaib said she grieved the loss of “Palestinian and Israeli lives” but did not mention Hamas, while calling for “ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system.”

“I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day,” Tlaib said. “I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity. The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance. 

“The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer,” she said. “No person, no child anywhere should have to suffer or live in fear of violence. We cannot ignore the humanity in each other. As long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”

State Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) took to Twitter soon after to criticize Tlaib. 

“This statement refuses to acknowledge 10/7 for what it was: a shocking act of terrorism,” said state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) on Twitter.

“Hamas violence is not some mere effect of resistance; it is a primary cause of instability in the region that prevents both Israelis and Palestinians from living in peace without fear,” he added.

Aric Nesbitt
Sen. Aric Nesbitt, May 7, 2019 | Michael Gerstein

State Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) said on Twitter earlier Wednesday: “Congresswoman Tlaib’s refusal to condemn the terrorist acts of Hamas are unconscionable. She is not fit to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and should resign immediately.”

On a phone call with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Joe Biden pledged additional U.S. support in the coming days for the Israeli Defense Forces.

“There’s no justification for terrorism. There’s no excuse,” Biden said in a speech on Tuesday. “Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.”


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.