Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib is being heavily criticized for attending a "Nakba Day" rally in Dearborn on May 15, where one speaker incited violence when mentioning Palestine. The rally was hosted by Palestinian-American comedian and activist Amer Zahr.
Arab-American Activist Osama Siblani, encouraged the Arabs present at the event to "fight within their means" for a free Palestine. The owner of the most widely circulated Arab American Publication, Siblani's speech was met with applause and cheers.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Nakba Day is a celebration for the establishment of State of Israel and the exodus of Palestinian refugees by the 1948 War of Independence and is held every year on May 15.
"Everyone should fight within his means, they will fight with stones, others will fight with guns, others will fight with planes, drones, and rockets. Others will fight with their voices, and others will fight with their hands and say, 'Free, free Palestine!' Siblani further declared, as translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) TV.
His comments have had negative impact over Tlaib's presence at the event, who pledged to vote against the unconditional military aid provided to Israel by the US and swore to fight against Israel's "apartheid status quo."
Several media analysts specializing in Middle East reporting have expressed their disappointment over the Congresswoman "sharing a stage" with a man who was openly instigating violence.
"By sharing a platform with such a demagogue, Tlaib has given an air of legitimacy to his appalling calls for bloodshed in America," said Jonah Cohen, Communications Director for the Committee for Accuracy and Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
Condemning Siblani's views, Cohen mentioned that such an "extremist rhetoric" is the reason why there is a rise in Anti-Semitic hate crimes in the nation.
Addressing the risk posed by this "violent rhetoric" towards the Jewish minority in America, CAMERA analyst David Litman called for an investigation on whether or not Tlaib deplored the extremism that was on "full display" at the event, the Jewish Journal reported.
"This is disgraceful and horrific to see in America today! Jew-hating clowns calling for the genocide of Jews and inciting violence against Jews. I'd expect to hear this garbage from the Ayatollahs and their goons in Iranâ¦ not in Michigan!" said award-winning Iranian Jewish Journalist Karmel Melamed.
The Congresswoman's office is yet to give an official statement acknowledging and addressing the negative attention received for attending the rally.
Apart from Tlaib, there were quite a few politicians that attended and spoke at the rally. This included Mayor of Dearborn Abdullah Hammoud, city council members Mustapa Hammoud and Erin Brynes and representative of US congressional candidate Huwaida Arraf.