US house speaker intervenes to cancel 'Nakba day' event at Capitol

Groups planned to gather to commemorate the 'catastrophe' of Israel's founding


WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) holds a media availability at the U.S. Capitol on May 09, 2023 in Washington, DC. McCarthy and other Congressional leaders met with President Biden to negotiate how to address the debt ceiling before June 1, when U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the United States would default on their debts. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(JNS) United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has intervened to block an event commemorating the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding in the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

Nine groups known for opposing the Jewish state planned to gather on Wednesday for “Nakba 75 and the Palestinian People,” with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as a “special guest.”

Palestinians and their supporters use the term “Nakba,” the Arabic word for catastrophe, to describe Israel’s founding, and every year hold rallies on May 14 to mark the date on the non-Jewish calendar of the state’s independence in 1948.

“This event in the U.S. Capitol is canceled. Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” the Republican tweeted on Tuesday.

The event was meant to explore how, “Seventy-five years ago, Zionist militias and the new Israeli military violently expelled approximately three-quarters of all Palestinians from their homes and homeland in what became the State of Israel,” per the organizers’ announcement.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan recently rebuked Tlaib for referring to Israel as an “apartheid” state, a claim the congresswoman has made often. “Tlaib’s ignorance and hate toward Jews and Israel know no bounds,” he said.

Among the event sponsors were Jewish Voice for Peace Action, American Friends Service Committee and U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, all of which have been banned from entering Israel.

McCarthy last week became the second-ever holder of his post to address the full Israeli Knesset, following in the footsteps of Newt Gingrich in 1998.

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