The event, “Gaza is Palestine,” was hosted by Palestinian activist Mohammed El-Kurd, who early in the event called for the U.S. to “end all Israeli funding” and said Congress was “spineless” for “aiding and abetting” Israel by providing aid. Tlaib made a brief appearance late in the program and thanked others for their efforts.
“I don’t feel alone with all of you,” the congresswoman said, when asked about sometimes being the only member of Congress speaking out against Israel in support of Palestinians. “I get strength from all of you.”
Tlaib did not address Israel directly in her brief appearance, but she has been a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that seeks to isolate and pressure Israel for what she has called “racist” polices.
Thursday’s event focused on an Israeli air strike on Gaza in May in which Palestinian civilians were killed. According to the event’s organizers, the dead included 22 people from one family.
El-Kurd said it was clear who the “villain” in the story is, although the attack came after Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza, had fired thousands of rockets into Israel, including at Jerusalem, as part of a wave of violence.
A spokesperson for the Israeli army said the Palestinian civilian casualties were an “unintended” result of an attack on Hamas’ “underground military infrastructure.” The foundations of the civilians’ homes were destroyed when Israel struck the underground facility below them.
At the time of the strike, more than 3,000 rockets had been fired toward Israel from Gaza. Few Israelis died in those strikes due to the Iron Dome defense system intercepting most of the rockets. Left-wing Democrats including Tlaib successfully pushed to have continued funding for the Iron Dome stripped from a recent U.S. spending package. Other Democrats and Republicans in the House then overwhelmingly passed a new measure to provide the funding, but the bill has stalled in the Senate due to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wanting the money to come from unused Afghanistan funds instead of a separate appropriation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.