Twenty-two Democrats joined most Republicans in the rebuke of Ms. Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, accusing her of calling for the destruction of Israel.
The House voted on Tuesday to censure Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, formally rebuking the sole Palestinian American in Congress for her statements regarding the Israel-Hamas war.
Twenty-two Democrats joined most Republicans to pass the resolution, which accuses Ms. Tlaib of “promoting false narratives” surrounding Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and of “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.” The vote was 234 to 188. Four Republicans voted against censuring Ms. Tlaib, while one Democrat and three Republicans voted “present,” declining to take a position.
After the gavel fell, Democratic lawmakers, mostly progressives, surrounded Ms. Tlaib on the floor and embraced her.
The Democratic support for reprimanding one of their own reflected an increasingly intense division in the party over the Israel-Hamas war. While many Democrats are staunchly supportive of Israel, there is mounting pressure from the progressive left to call for a cease-fire and focus on the suffering of the Palestinian people in the face of ballooning civilian deaths and a worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Ms. Tlaib has been by far the most vocal member of Congress to do so.
The measure, offered by Representative Rich McCormick, Republican of Georgia, argued that a statement Ms. Tlaib made after Hamas’s attack on Israel — calling for the end of “the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance” — “defended” terrorism.
It also cited Ms. Tlaib’s embrace of the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a pro-Palestinian rallying cry that many regard as calling for the eradication of Israel and has been deemed antisemitic by the Anti-Defamation League. The resolution called the phrase “a genocidal call to violence to destroy the state of Israel and its people to replace it with a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
Ms. Tlaib has said the slogan, which was used by pro-Palestinian protesters featured in a video she posted accusing President Biden of supporting genocide in Gaza, is “an aspirational call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate.”
During debate of the resolution, Ms. Tlaib grew emotional on the House floor as she reiterated her calls for a cease-fire, defended her criticism of the Israeli government and pleaded for sympathy for the plight of the Palestinian people.
“I can’t believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable,” she said, appearing to choke back tears as Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, stood up to comfort her. “The cries of the Palestinian and Israeli children sound no different to me.”
Ms. Tlaib said her criticism had “always been” of the Israeli government, not the Israeli people, and warned her colleagues that the movement urging a cease-fire was “growing every single day.”
“You can try to censure me, but you can’t silence their voices,” she said.
The debate pitted mainstream Democrats against the most progressive lawmakers in the House, many of them women of color who surrounded Ms. Tlaib on the floor as the censure was considered. Representative Ayanna S. Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, defended Ms. Tlaib and called the resolution “blatantly Islamophobic, anti-democratic and an utter waste of time.” Ms. Pressley, who is Black, argued that the measure was brought by Republicans “obsessed with policing progressive women of color.”
Other Democrats, however, have condemned Ms. Tlaib’s statements.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, said in a statement before the vote that echoing “slogans that are widely understood as calling for the complete destruction of Israel — such as ‘from the river to the sea’ — does not advance progress toward a two-state solution. Instead, it unacceptably risks further polarization, division and incitement to violence.”
And Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois, the lone Democrat who sided with Republicans in a vote earlier in the day allowing the resolution to move forward, accused Ms. Tlaib of “trying to gaslight the world and give cover” to those using the “river to the sea” slogan.
“I will always defend the right to free speech,” Mr. Schneider said in a statement. “Tlaib has the right to say whatever she wants. But it cannot go unanswered.”
Last week, the House struck down a different censure of Ms. Tlaib offered by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, that accused Ms. Tlaib of “antisemitic activity” and called an Oct. 18 protest in a House office building, at which Ms. Tlaib had accused Israel of genocide, an “insurrection.”
Ms. Greene reintroduced her censure resolution after amending it to refer to the Oct. 18 protest as an “illegal occupation” of a House office building. The House had planned to consider it Tuesday night, but Ms. Greene withdrew the resolution after the House voted to allow Mr. McCormick’s measure to move forward.
Representative Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado, opposed Ms. Greene’s resolution last week and said he would not support the others either.
“It’s not our job to censure somebody because we don’t agree with them,” he said. “Let the Ethics Committee look at it. Let others look at it, but I will not be voting for a motion to censure unless it’s very serious conduct.”
It is rare for a member of Congress to be censured, which amounts to a public reprimand one step below expulsion. Before June, the House had censured its own members just 24 times in the chamber’s history. But censure resolutions increasingly have been used in recent months to trade criticism and partisan blame across the aisle.
In its first week of legislative business after a month of paralysis because of the chaotic speaker’s race, the House considered two censure resolutions back to back. Since then, at least three more censure resolutions have been introduced.
The measures are privileged under House rules, meaning that they take precedence over other legislative business and are not subject to the discretion of congressional leaders.
Karoun Demirjian contributed reporting.