Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) planned an event in the House of Representatives to commemorate Nakba Day, a Palestinian term meaning "the catastrophe," which refers to the displacement of the Palestinian people when Israel was founded in 1948. When Kevin McCarthy stepped in to prevent it from taking place in the House, Bernie Sanders came to the rescue.
The Speaker of the House canceled the event on Wednesday, arguing that "It's wrong for members of Congress to traffic in antisemitic tropes about Israel. 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."
However, Tlaib insisted on holding the meeting, accusing McCarthy of wanting to "rewrite history and erase the existence and truth of the Palestinian people." "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," she responded in a statement.
McCarthy initially got his way by reserving the Congressional Visitors Center, where the Nakba commemoration was initially scheduled to be held, replacing the original initiative with an event dedicated to celebrating 75 years of U.S.-Israeli cooperation.
This is precisely where Bernie Sanders came into play. The Vermont senator invited Tlaib to hold their meeting in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Hearing Room of the Senate Office Building, entirely out of McCarthy's reach.
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) May 11, 2023
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called the action "disgraceful" and asked the Upper House to express its disapproval.
"Real conversations are needed around a path to peace, but not with groups and individuals who espouse antisemitism," he added.
The event took place on Wednesday night and was attended by Sanders, although he shared absolutely nothing on his social networks. As Jewish Insider's Marc Rod reported, Tlaib's language during the meeting was somewhat hostile against Israel.
For example, the congresswoman accused the country of being an "apartheid state" and continuing a "sustained campaign of terror" on the Temple Mount. The room was packed and featured another member of the legislative group known as The Squad, Cori Bush.
After the event, Tlaib used her Twitter account to share images and charged at the House speaker again. "Let the headlines read 'McCarthy tries to erase Palestine but fails,'" she posted on the social network.