The pro-Israel organization StopAntisemitism voted Representative Rashida Tlaib as its 2023 “Antisemite of the Year” on Monday over Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat who is the only Palestinian-American to serve in Congress, has faced criticism over her stance on Israel amid the conflict and has called for a ceasefire. The conflict has left over 20,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis dead since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023. Israel in turn launched a ground invasion of Gaza, a territory that is home to roughly 2 million people.
Critics say Tlaib’s statements responding to the attack, as well calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, are antisemitic, arguing she has opposed Israel’s right to exist. Supporters, however, view those criticisms as an attempt to deflect from her opposition to the way the Israeli government has treated Palestinian civilians amid the conflict.
StopAntisemitism, a group that says its goal is to expose “groups and individuals that espouse incitement towards the Jewish people and State and engage in antisemitic behaviors,” named her its “Antisemite of the Year,” the organization announced Monday.
Liora Rez, StopAntisemitism’s executive director, wrote in a statement that Tlaib’s title “reflects a long history of antisemitism,” adding that her statements to Hamas’ attack was “unconscionable.”
“Tlaib not only victim-blamed Israel, but she also accused it of committing genocide against the Palestinians and continues to defend calls to ethnically cleanse Israel of Jews and genocide,” she wrote.
Newsweek reached out to Tlaib’s office for comment via email.
The organization notably gave the title to Tlaib over Haniyeh, the top political leader of Hamas, and other members of the militant group that led the deadly attack against Israel. In justifying its decision, the group pointed to several of Tlaib’s remarks, including her calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “genocidal maniac” and critiques of U.S. funding for Israel.
It also highlighted her use of the chant, “from the river to the sea.” The congresswoman posted a video that featured the phrase to X, formerly Twitter, in November, drawing rebuke that culminated in her being censured by the House of Representatives.
The chant has different meanings for different groups. Tlaib has described it as an “aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish advocacy group that combats antisemitism, defines it as “a call for a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, territory that includes the State of Israel, which would mean the dismantling of the Jewish state.”
Haniyeh and model Gigi Hadid were among the other figures to receive the most votes, according to the organization. Nearly 15,000 people voted in the group’s poll. Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, who previously posted to social media that he was “going death con [Defcon] 3 on Jewish people,” received the title in 2022.