An overwhelming majority of House members voted in favor of a resolution affirming Israel’s right to exist, while two members — one Democrat and one Republican — dissented.
A bipartisan block of 412 members voted for the resolution on Nov. 28 amid Israel’s war with Hamas, the Islamic militant group that governs Gaza and is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.
“I’m proud that 210 Republicans and 202 Democrats set aside our differences and came together to show support for our closest ally in the Middle East,” Rep. Mike Lawler, a New York Republican who introduced the resolution, said in a statement.
In passing the resolution, the House pronounced the “right of the Jewish people to live peacefully in their native land,” Lawler said.
In addition to affirming Israel’s legitimacy, the resolution condemns Hamas and says any denial of the country’s right to exist is inherently antisemitic — a stipulation that one member took issue with.
Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, voted against the resolution, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, “I’m voting No on the resolution because it equates anti-Zionism with antisemitism.”
“Antisemitism is deplorable, but expanding it to include criticism of Israel is not helpful,” Massie said.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, voted present, making her the only other voting member not to support the resolution.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live with democracy, safety, peace, and human dignity,” Tlaib said in a statement. “This resolution that ignores the existence of the Palestinian people brings us no closer to peaceful coexistence.”
Palestinians, too, have a right to live in their “historic homeland” and should not be “subjugated as second-class citizens,” Tlaib said.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American, was censured by the House in early November after being accused of spreading false narratives about Israel and calling for violent resistance to it.
“It’s a shame my colleagues are more focused on silencing me than they are on saving lives, as the death toll in Gaza surpasses 10,000,” Tlaib said in a statement responding to the censure. “Many of them have shown me that Palestinian lives simply do not matter to them.”
The passage of the resolution comes as Congress is working to pass an aid package to Israel and Ukraine, which will be voted on soon, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
It also comes amid a several dayslong cease-fire in Gaza that was negotiated with the assistance of President Joe Biden. During the pause, Israeli hostages have been released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
Biden, in a Nov. 27 statement, pushed for the cessation of hostilities to be extended.
All countries should be working to bring the conflict — which is a “humanitarian catastrophe” — to an end, the secretary general of the United Nations said in a statement released the same day.
So far, over 15,000 Palestinians, including more than 10,000 women and children, and 1,200 Israelis have been killed, according to officials from both governments.