Rashida Tlaib defies Kevin McCarthy to host commemoration for Palestine

Washington DC - Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, defied House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to host an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of Nakba on Capitol Hill.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib hosts the Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People event on Capitol Hill on May 10, 2023.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib hosts the Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People event on Capitol Hill on May 10, 2023.  © Screenshot/Twitter/theIMEU

The event, entitled Nakba 75 & the Palestinian People, took place on Wednesday evening in the room of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders.

Featuring testimonies from survivors, attendees remembered and discussed the Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe"), or the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Palestinians during Israel's War of Independence which took place 75 years ago.

"We have a right to tell our stories of the Nakba of 1948," Tlaib told the packed assembly. "And today, because the Nakba never ended."

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McCarthy had tried to shut down the event before it could take place.

"This event in the US Capitol is canceled," the California Republican tweeted on Tuesday. "Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship."

Tlaib quickly clarified that the event would still go on, in spite of the House Speaker's opposition: "Our hope is to create opportunities for Palestinians, both here at home and abroad, who continue to experience the impacts of the Nakba, to tell their stories," she said in a statement.

"Speaker McCarthy wants to rewrite history and erase the existence and truth of the Palestinian people, but he has failed to do so," she added.

Rashida Tlaib introduces resolution to recognize Nakba

Rashida Tlaib has re-introduced a House resolution to recognize the Nakba and Palestinian refugee rights in the 118th Congress.
Rashida Tlaib has re-introduced a House resolution to recognize the Nakba and Palestinian refugee rights in the 118th Congress.  © Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The same day, Tlaib re-introduced a resolution to recognize the Nakba and Palestinian refugee rights.

The measure calls on the US government to "condemn all manifestations of Israel's ongoing Nakba against the Palestinian people," which encompasses the "illegal theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; Israel's displacement of Palestinians by destroying their homes and forcing them from their land; and the daily brutality and violence inflicted by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians."

The resolution has received co-sponsorships from fellow Democratic Representatives Betty McCollum of Minnesota, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Jamaal Bowman of New York, and Cori Bush of Missouri.

Israel's actions against Palestinians have been characterized as a crime of apartheid by international human rights organizations and prominent political figures, including former US President Jimmy Carter.

Cover photo: Screenshot/Twitter/theIMEU

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