During President Biden’s trip to Detroit on Tuesday, Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib reportedly confronted the president over his support of the apartheid state of Israel amidst its continuous attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. According to a Democratic aide familiar with the conversation, Rep. Tlaib reportedly told Biden that his policy of unconditional support of the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was only enabling more killing, and urged him to do more to protect the lives and human rights of Palestinians.
This conversation between Biden and Tlaib came just a day after news broke that the Biden administration had approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel earlier this month. Although Congress has the power to stop the sale within a 15-day window, the continued divide among Democrats over how to respond to Israel’s violent occupation of Palestine combined with the short approval window reportedly makes it unlikely that the sale will be stopped. Israel has purchased these same weapons from the U.S. in the past, and it is believed that they are currently being used in the Israeli government’s escalating violence against Palestinians in Gaza.
During a special order hour on the floor of the House of Representatives late last week, Rep. Tlaib criticized President Biden’s weak response to the continuous violence being inflicted on the Palestinian people. “You’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all,” said Tlaib, after reading the recent statements from Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Israel’s recent military violence. When addressing her colleagues in the House of Representatives, Rep. Tlaib said: “Palestinians aren’t going anywhere, no matter how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government. If we are to make good on our promises to support equal human rights for all, it is our duty to end the apartheid system that for decades has subjected Palestinians to inhumane treatment and racism.”
In a phone call with Netanyahu on Monday, Biden reportedly called for a cease-fire but did not demand an immediate stop of the Israeli military’s bombing campaign of Gaza. The White House has yet to comment on the Tuesday exchange between Biden and Tlaib.