62 Democrats Join 207 Republicans in Vote to Conceal Gaza Death Toll

The House of Representatives has voted to effectively conceal the death toll from Israel’s war on Gaza.

On Thursday, lawmakers voted 269-144 on an amendment to prohibit the State Department from citing statistics from the Gaza Health Ministry. The measure is part of the annual State Department appropriations bill. It was led by Democratic Reps. Jared Moskowitz, Fla., and Josh Gottheimer, N.J., and Republican Reps. Joe Wilson, S.C.; Mike Lawler, N.Y.; and Carol Miller, W.V.

In total, 62 Democrats joined 207 Republicans in supporting the amendment.

While party leaders often push their members to vote “yes” or “no” on any range of proposals, Democratic leadership gave “no recommendation” to its members on how to vote on the amendment. After the House passes the full bill, it will head to the Senate for consideration.

Mohammed Khader, policy manager at the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights Action, told The Intercept that the amendment is part of a trend of anti-Palestinian sentiment in Congress since the start of Israel’s atrocities in Gaza. “By preventing any recognition of the number of Palestinians killed since October, this amendment is a clear example of genocide denial and is no different from what was done towards victims of genocides in Rwanda and Armenia.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the only Palestinian member of Congress, took to the floor to make a similar argument. “This is genocide denial,” she said.

After reciting the death toll and other statistics about casualties, Tlaib said she intended to introduce the list of Palestinians killed in Gaza to the congressional record. “It is important to note this to everyone here: The list is too long that I can’t even submit it because of the text limit,” she said. “That’s how many have been killed.”

Over the last eight months, Israel has killed at least 37,765 people and injured another 86,429, according to the ministry’s latest figures.

The Ministry of Health is the only official entity tracking the death toll in Gaza; its figures have been cited broadly, including by the U.S. and Israeli governments. Over the last eight months, Israel has killed at least 37,765 people and injured another 86,429, according to the ministry’s latest figures. These numbers are likely an undercount due to the decimated medical infrastructure, killed medical workers, and thousands feared trapped under the rubble in Gaza.

“It’s despicable but not shocking that 62 Democrats joined Republicans to refute the Gaza death toll,” one Democratic staffer told The Intercept. “Democratic leadership should be ashamed for refusing to take a stand and call out the blatant anti-Palestinian racism and genocide denial in our party.”

Moskowitz and Gottheimer are among several Democrats who have repeatedly worked to undermine the movement for Palestinian rights and pro-Palestinian speech.

In April, the pair joined Republicans to lead a resolution condemning the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as antisemitic. In December, the duo joined Republican Reps. Elise Stefanik and Steve Scalise to lead a resolution condemning university presidents and calling for their resignations for allegedly tolerating antisemitism on campus. In November, the two Democrats joined 20 others in censuring Tlaib, for reasons that included posting a video calling for a ceasefire that contained the phrase “from the river to the sea.” 

Gottheimer has gone even further, calling Democrats who don’t support Israel a “cancer” and suggesting that Muslims in America are “guilty” of Hamas’s attack on October 7. Along with Lawler, he headlined a call hosted by No Labels, in which he spoke with university trustees about how to push the FBI to take a bigger role in investigating campus protests. During that call, Lawler suggested that student protests for Palestine were the type of activity that inspired the TikTok ban.

The pair also joined 60 other Democrats in expressing their “disgust” at South Africa’s 84-page suit accusing Israel of genocide and praising White House spokesperson John Kirby for calling it “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basic in fact whatsoever.” Not long after, the International Court of Justice concluded that Israel is plausibly committing genocide.

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