Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib is facing calls to be primaried in response to her remarks following Hamas’ attack on Israel.
Early on Saturday morning, Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel, gunning down people in homes, on streets and at a music festival and taking others hostage. The attack and Israel’s strikes in the days since have left more than 1,000 dead in Israel and at least 770 dead in Gaza, according to Reuters, with thousands more wounded on both sides.
Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent and an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, released a statement on Sunday that accused Israel of “apartheid” and called for the lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
“I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day,” the Michigan congresswoman said in the statement. “I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity,” Tlaib said.
She said the “path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”
“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,” Tlaib said, adding that as long as the U.S. “provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”
The statement prompted some to call for Tlaib to face a primary challenge in 2024. Her current term ends in January 2025.
“Someone should primary Tlaib,” political strategist Tim Miller wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in response to Tlaib’s statement, in a post that has been viewed more than half a million times.
That sentiment was echoed by others on social media, with one person writing on X that nothing “justifies the slaughter of civilians attending a music festival in the desert. Nothing. Tlaib should be primaried.”
Some defended Tlaib’s remarks, with one person writing that Tlaib was “sympathizing with the perennially oppressed Gazan people, NOT their Hamas overlords.”
Corey Robin, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College, wrote on X: “As a Jew, I’m proud to say Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Bush speak for me and my values, and that any Democrat who criticizes these two leaders of principle, do not.”
Bush issued a statement on Saturday that condemned the targeting of civilians and called for an end to U.S. government support “for Israeli military occupation and apartheid.” Both she and Tlaib have received criticism from fellow Democrats over their remarks.
Newsweek reached out to Tlaib’s office for comment via email