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US Congresswoman Tlaib holds event for Palestinian Nakba Day in Senate

The top Republican in the House tried to cancel the event to commemorate the Palestinian displacement of 1948, but Senator Bernie Sanders stepped in to help the outspoken congresswoman.

A Palestinian-American congresswoman held an event Wednesday evening on Capitol Hill to commemorate the Nakba Day, aka the “Palestinian catastrophe" of mass displacement in 1948. The controversy surrounding the event demonstrates growing division in the traditionally pro-Israel US Congress.

What happened: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is one of the most vocal supporters of the Palestinian cause. A member of the self-described “squad” of progressive congresspeople, she was elected in 2018.

Tlaib planned to hold an event on Wednesday in the Capitol Visitor Center to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Nakba Day. Nakba is an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe” that refers to the mass displacement of Palestinians from modern-day Israel during the 1948 war after Israel’s independence. What exactly happened at the time is somewhat disputed, but there is general consensus, including among Israeli historians such as Benny Morris, that thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled from their homes. Others left voluntarily, including to Jordan.

Ahead of the event, some pro-Israel groups pressured Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to bar Tlaib from using the Capitol Visitor Center for the event.

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