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Tlaib, Bush criticized by Democrats over statements calling for end to Israel support

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) are facing criticism from fellow Democrats over weekend statements in which they each labeled Israel as an apartheid state and called for the U.S. to end funding to the nation, amid a surprise attack by Hamas that killed hundreds. 

Tlaib said she continues to “grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day,” before calling for “dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.” She has previously criticized the Israeli government and had denounced a House resolution supporting Israel in a floor speech in July.

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian heritage, also called for lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and for “ending the occupation” in her lengthy statement. 

“The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer. No person, no child anywhere should have to suffer or live in fear of violence. We cannot ignore the humanity in each other,” she said. 

“As long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue,” she continued.

Bush also issued similar comments in a statement Saturday, in which she condemned the targeting of civilians and said she was “heartbroken” by the violence. She also called for the end of U.S. support for Israel.

“As part of achieving a just and lasting peace, we must do our part to stop this violence and trauma by ending U.S. government support for Israeli military occupation and apartheid,” she said.

Tlaib’s and Bush’s remarks were quickly met with pushback from both the right and the left, including two Democrat lawmakers. In comments to Jewish Insider, Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) condemned the lawmakers’ statements. 

“U.S. aid to Israel is and should be unconditional, and never more so than in this moment of critical need,” Torres said in a statement to Jewish Insider. “Shame on anyone who glorifies as ‘resistance’ the largest single-day mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust. It is reprehensible and repulsive.”

“Two of my colleagues called for America to end assistance to Israel, despite the countless images of Israeli children, women, men, and elderly, including Americans, murdered by radical Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists,” Gottheimer said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “It sickens me that while Israelis clean the blood of their family members shot in their homes, they believe Congress should strip U.S. funding to our democratic ally and allow innocent civilians to suffer.”

The ambassador of Israel to the U.S. also took aim at Tlaib’s statement.

“How much more blood needs to be spilled for you to overcome your prejudice and unequivocally condemn Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror organization?” Michael Herzog said in response to Tlaib’s statement on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.

“Hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians massacred in cold blood on a holy day. Babies kidnapped from their mother’s arms and taken to Gaza. An 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair and a Holocaust survivor taken hostage. Is that not enough, @RashidaTlaib?” he continued.

The Hill has reached out to the offices of Tlaib, Bush and Torres for comment. 

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