Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) will host a congressional event this week to mourn Israel’s founding alongside an array of anti-Israel groups, some of which have defended terrorism.
The Wednesday event marks the “Nakba,” a Palestinian term for the creation of Israel that loosely translates as “catastrophe.” Though Tlaib is listed as a “special guest” on the invitation, the event will take place at the Capitol Visitor Center, whose event space can only be reserved by a sitting member of Congress.
Tlaib’s cosponsors include Jewish Voice for Peace, a “radical anti-Israel activist group” that pushes the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and has come under fire for glorifying Palestinian terrorism. Other organizers include Emgage Action, another BDS supporter that claims Israel is an “apartheid state,” and Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, an advocacy group that claims Jewish money is infecting politics.
The event is Tlaib’s latest effort to give a mainstream platform to organizations long shunned by the majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The Democratic “Squad” member has accused American Jews of having dual loyalties to Israel. Last year, she spoke at a Nakba rally with a pro-Hamas newspaper editor who has encouraged Palestinians to attack Israelis, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Nakba celebrations are common among anti-Israel groups and supporters of the Palestinian government who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state.
The invitation for Wednesday’s event accuses “Zionist militias” of violently expelling Palestinians from the region when Israel was created in 1948 and maintains that Israel continues to brutalize Palestinians.
“May 15th marks 75 years since the beginning of the Nakba, which means ‘catastrophe,'” the invitation reads. “Seventy-five years ago, Zionist militias and the new Israeli military violently expelled approximately three-quarters of all Palestinians from their homes and homeland in what became the state of Israel.”
The event aims to “uplift the experiences of Palestinians who underwent the Nakba, and educate members of Congress and their staff about this history and the ongoing Nakba to which Israel continues to subject Palestinians,” according to the invitation.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism, expressed alarm that an event of this nature would be held inside Congress.
“The real Nakba is [that Tlaib] got elected to represent her district and the American people in Congress. She could have been and should have been someone who would work tirelessly to bring Palestinians and Israelis together to make peace,” Cooper said. “Instead, she continues to serve as a cheerleader for demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state.”
Tlaib’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Other cosponsors include Democracy for the Arab World Now, which is led by prominent anti-Israel advocate Sarah Leah Whitson. Whitson formerly worked at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, the Free Beacon reported. Pro-BDS groups, such as the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the American Friends Service Committee, also are sponsoring the event.
Nakba ceremonies have long fomented anti-Israel attitudes and descended “into expressions of support for terror groups or attacks against Israelis,” according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
A speaker at a Dearborn, Mich., Nakba day event last year “endorsed rocket and knife attacks,” according to the ADL. A speaker in the Bay Area, meanwhile, “led a chant of ‘no Zionism in our town!'”
This rhetoric, the ADL says, “constitutes a wholesale attack on American Jews, a majority of whom view a connection with Israel, and support for its right to exist, as part of their Jewish religious, cultural, and/or ethnic identities.”
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