Statement: MPAC Stands with Palestinians, Rep. Tlaib Amidst Pushback on 75th Nakba Commemoration

May 16, 2023 Statements

Washington, D.C. | | May 16, 2023 — Last week, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib hosted a commemoration of the 75th Nakba, the mass displacement of Palestinians known as “the Nakba” or “the catastrophe.” The event, scheduled to take place on Capitol Hill, was canceled by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who labeled the event anti-semitic and stated that he would instead use the space to hold “a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel relationship.” 

MPAC wants to express its sincere gratitude to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who stood in support of Congresswoman Tlaib and at the final hour secured an alternative venue on the Senate side of the Capitol complex for the 75th Nakba commemoration. Senator Sanders was instrumental in halting efforts to silence discussions on the Nakba and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. 

Despite House Speaker McCarthy’s efforts to cancel the event, hundreds of Palestinian supporters filled the halls of the Senate building including elderly citizens and Nakba survivors who shared their stories of suffering and displacement during the establishment of Israel. 

This brazen attempt to silence American-Palestinian voices and bury their history is reflective of the Israeli government’s continued inhumane and unjust treatment of the Palestinian people and the United States government’s continued silence on the issue. 

“As Rep. Tlaib so eloquently stated at the event, the Nakba never ended. The fact that attendees of a human rights discussion on a historic displacement were themselves displaced in an effort to silence them is indicative of all that is wrong when it comes to discussions on Palestinians and Israel. We unequivocally stand with Rep. Tlaib and the Palestinian people.” 

– MPAC President, Salam Al-Marayati

U.S. foreign policy and domestic policy are powerfully intertwined. The dismissal of American Arab and American Muslim voices are indicative of U.S. foreign policy towards the Arab and Muslim world. The United States must strive to do better on both fronts to ensure inclusivity.

MPAC is concerned that any criticism of Israel as a human rights offender is often conflated with anti-semitism and is used to infringe upon the right to freedom of expression for Arab Americans and American Muslims. This goes against the very essence of the Constitution and is detrimental to the United States’ reputation as an arbiter of human rights. Actions such as these stifle any chances of coming to a fair and reasonable resolution to a decades-old issue.

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