Senate candidate offered $20m to oppose Rashida Tlaib, only Palestinian American in Congress

Representative Rashida Tlaib, a progressive democrat from Michigan, is the only Palestinian American member of Congress.

Katie Hawkinson
Thursday 23 November 2023 17:39 GMT
Related video: Hundreds call for peace in Palestine at Hart Plaza rally, featuring Rashida Tlaib

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A Michigan entrepreneur offered a Democratic senate candidate millions of dollars to run against Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress.

Entrepreneur Linden Nelson offered candidate Hill Harper — an actor, lawyer and union organizer — $20 million to drop out of the senate race and run against Ms Tlaib in the 2024 primary race, The New York Times reports.

Mr Harper responded to the report on X, formerly Twitter, writing he would not be “bought, or bossed, or bullied.”

“I’m not going to run against the only Palestinian-American in Congress just because some special interests don’t like her,” Mr Harper wrote.

“I’m running because I want to break the stranglehold wealthy special interests have on our politics, whether it’s the Israel lobby, the NRA or Big Pharma,” he added.

Mr Nelson has previously donated to groups funding Rep Tlaib’s opponents. He donated $13,000 to Concerned Citizens of Michigan, a group that supported Rep Tlaib’s primary challengers in 2020.

Ms Tlaib is the first and only Palestinian American serving in Congress. On 7 November, the US House of Representatives voted 234-188 to censure the Michigan representative over her comments on the Israel-Hamas war, including her use of the phrase “from the river to the sea.”

Ms Tlaib, echoing the sentiments of many Palestinian human rights supporters, wrote on X the slogan “is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate.”

Other members of Congress have called the phrase antisemitic. Representative Richie Torres, a New York democrat, wrote on X the phrase “crosses a line of hate speech that no public official should ever cross.”

At least 11,078 Palestinian have died since the war began on 7 October, according to the last verified death toll recorded on 10 November, per the Associated Press.

Mr Harper, Rep Tlaib and Mr Nelson did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment sent on a US federal holiday.

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