Lawmakers Move to Censure Squad Members for Anti-Israel Remarks

Republicans accuse far-left House Dems of giving cover to Hamas during Gaza crisis

Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar, And Pressley Hold News Conference After President Trump Attacks Them On Twitter
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June 14, 2021

House Republicans are backing an effort to censure members of the far-left "squad" for their anti-Israel rhetoric amid Hamas's rocket attacks against the Jewish state last month.

The resolution, which Reps. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.), Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.), and Jim Banks (R., Ind.) introduced on Monday, accused the far-left lawmakers of providing cover for Hamas by equating Israel’s self-defense to terrorist attacks launched from Gaza. 

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) emerged as Israel’s loudest critics during the crisis as more than 4,000 rockets rained down on the country, killing 12 civilians and injuring many more. During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in June, Omar compared Israel to the Taliban and Hamas, saying all three have committed "crimes against humanity" during wartime. Tlaib has accused Israel of "war crimes," while Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez joined their fellow squad members in calling Israel’s treatment of minorities a form of "apartheid."

Waltz, a combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said the squad members' attacks on Israel and the United States are "shameful" and ignorant of conditions on the ground.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to Members of Congress openly defending terrorist attacks by Hamas against our close ally Israel nor their dangerous rhetoric which has contributed to anti-Semitic attacks across the country," Waltz said. "I’ve personally been fired upon by terrorists hiding behind women and children and seen the Taliban place suicide vests on teenagers. For members of the U.S. Congress to make equivalencies to Israel and the American military, which puts its own soldiers at risk to avoid civilian casualties, is ignorant of the facts, shameful, and should be condemned in the strongest terms."

The push to censure the squad members comes as House Republican leadership weighs stripping Omar of her committee assignments, which include a seat on the Foreign Affairs subcommittee overseeing global human-rights issues. Politico reported Monday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) is considering moving forward with a resolution to remove the congresswoman from her committee assignements due to her anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

Some House Democrats have taken objection to Omar’s comments on the Gaza conflict. A group of 12 Jewish Democratic lawmakers issued a resolution on June 9 condemning the congresswoman’s remarks as "offensive" and "misguided." Omar’s fellow squad members, including members elected in 2020 as part of the so-called Squad 2.0, such as Rep. Cori Bush (D., Mo.), came to Omar’s defense, saying criticism of Omar is rooted in "anti-blackness and Islamophobia."