Rashida Tlaib says Democrats tell her they support Palestine in secret because they’re scared of ‘intimidation’

Progressive wing of party increasingly challenges traditional US stance towards Israel

Gazans pick through rubble of destroyed building
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US Rep Rashida Tlaib says that some of her Democratic colleagues in Congress express empathy towards the Palestinians in private, but do not in public.

The Michigan Democrat made the observation during an interview on MSNBC’s The Reid Out on Monday evening.

“It is really hard because any of my colleagues that even have some sort of empathy towards Palestinians, they do it quietly with whispering because they continue to be intimidated and bullied by those that want to continue the status quo apartheid in Israel,” Ms Tlaib told host Joy Reid.

Ms Tlaib added that those interested in maintaining the status quo “literally brush over Palestinians as ... somehow inherently violent, that they don’t deserve human rights”.

Ms Tlaib did not specify what kind of intimidation or bullying her colleagues were subject to, nor from whom.

The congresswoman also said there was more criticism of the Netanyahu government within Israel than there was from the Biden administration.

“I hope that my president, our president, speaks up and speaks truth about what exactly is happening, because I know they know,” she said. “Many of the people that live there, including some of the Israeli citizens, have come out and opposed Netanyahu very forcefully. ‘Enough with this kind of discrimination and racism. These are our neighbors. These are children that we’re raising our children with.’”

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been increasingly vocal in its opposition to traditional US policy towards Israel.

Ms Tlaib and other members of Congress have called out the US government over arms sales and the military aid that is given to Israel.

She joined representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and André Carson of Indiana in signing a joint statement asking president Joe Biden to reconsider the $3bn in annual military aid provided to Israel.

As Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes continue and the death toll mounts, the Biden administration has said that it supports a ceasefire, though has not explicitly called for one.

On Monday, the US blocked a joint statement in the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

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