Rashida Tlaib: “Today I’m Thinking of Nelson Mandela”

Earlier today, Rashida Tlaib delivered a speech on the floor of Congress in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel and insisted the US must stop funding the mass slaughter in Gaza. We print the powerful address here in full.

In Congress, Representative Rashida Tlaib delivered a speech in support of South Africa's genocide case against Israel. (Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Today, Mr Speaker, South Africa will present its case against the Israeli government at the International Court of Justice. And I ask unanimous consent to insert into the record the case.

It is incredibly powerful to witness people who defeated apartheid in their own country, hold the Israeli apartheid regime accountable for its crime of genocide in Gaza. Today, I’m thinking of Nelson Mandela’s powerful words: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

In the past three months, Israeli forces have killed over 23,350 Palestinians, including more than 9,600 children. They have injured more than 59,400 Palestinians. More than 8,000 Palestinians are still missing under the rubble.

This week, Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken called the case “meritless.”

So let me read directly from the case file, starting on page fifty-nine, “Expressions of Genocidal Intent against the Palestinian People by Israeli Officials,” so you can hear directly from the Israeli officials in their own words, not mine.

President [Isaac] Herzog said, “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It is not true, this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It is absolutely not true . . . and we will fight until we break their backbone.”

He’s one of the many Israeli officials who have handwritten messages on the bombs to be dropped on the children of Gaza.

[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu said in his own words, “A struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle.” He continues to say, “This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism.”

Israel’s minister of defense said, “Imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water. . . . Everything is closed,” he says. “We are fighting human animals.”

Again, a direct quote from the minister of defense.

He continues on to say, “Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything.”

The Israeli minister for national security — again, an official within the Israeli government — speaking of those living in Gaza, he said, “They’re all terrorists, and they should also be destroyed.”

The Israeli minister of energy and infrastructure said, “All the civilian population in Gaza is ordered to leave immediately. . . . They will not receive a drop of water or a single battery until they leave the world.”

The Israeli minister of heritage said, “The north of the Gaza Strip, more beautiful than ever. Everything is blown up and flattened, simply a pleasure for the eyes. . . . We will hand over lots to all those who fought for Gaza over the years.”

I’m not done.

The Israeli minister of agriculture said, “We are now actually rolling out the Gaza Nakba.”

The deputy speaker of the Knesset said, “We all have one common goal — erasing the Gaza Strip from the face of the earth. Those who are unable will be replaced.”

The Israeli army coordinator of government activities in the territories, speaking of the Palestinians living in Gaza said, “Human animals are dealt with accordingly.”

And an Israeli army reservist said, “Don’t leave anyone behind. Erase the memory of them. Erase them, their families, mothers, and children. These animals can no longer live. . . . Let them drop bombs on them and erase them.”

Mr Speaker, I would like to submit for the Congressional Record, as you know, the entire South African Genocide Case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

There is simply time to save lives, to stop the Israeli government from carrying out the genocide in Gaza.

This body and the Biden administration are complicit in this genocide. Congress must stop funding the genocide of the Palestinian people with our American tax dollars.