Rashida Tlaib defies US Speaker (R-Calif.) and holds Nakba conference at Capitol Hill – Middle East Monitor

House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tried to block an event Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) planned to hold on Wednesday to commemorate the Nakba.

Tlaib had planned to hold the conference in the Capitol Building and, after the event was scheduled, McCarthy, who is a staunch supporter of the Israeli occupation, announced that the event would be cancelled, and pledged to hold a bipartisan discussion in honour of what he described as the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship.

The Nakba conference was to be held in an auditorium that seats 400 in the US Capitol Visitor Centre, but, according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), was moved to a large auditorium in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The IMEU retweeted a tweet by Tlaib saying, “Let the headlines read ‘McCarthy tries to erase Palestine but fails.'”

READ: Walk along a Palestinian refugee’s journey through the Nakba to the modern day

Tlaib said in a statement, that House Speaker McCarthy “he aimed to erase the truth and existence of Palestinian people but had failed to do so. This event is planned to bring awareness about the Nakba and create space for Palestinian Americans who experienced the Nakba first-hand to tell their stories of trauma and survival.”

McCarthy claimed that he interfered to prevent the event from taking place, in support of what he described as Israel’s right to self-determination and self-defence.

McCarthy said, “As long as I’m Speaker, we are going to support Israel’s right to self-determination and self-defence, unequivocally and in a bipartisan fashion.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, criticised McCarthy for cancelling Tlaib’s event, saying it was unfortunate.

Among the organisations that participated in the event were the Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Americans for Justice in Palestinian Action, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights.

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