Rashida Tlaib just announced a whopping $3.7 million fundraising haul for the last quarter of 2023, after being censured by Congress for her support of Palestine. Her fundraising success shows pro-Palestine politics can go head-to-head with the Israel lobby.

by Oren Schweitzer, Jacobin

As the only Palestinian American in Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib has made a name for herself as the leading congressional voice for Palestinian liberation. Her outspoken criticism of Israel’s apartheid and military occupation, and now its genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, has placed a major target on her back. While the Biden administration aids and abets the massacre, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have censured Tlaib for insisting Palestinians deserve to live in freedom.

These attempts to isolate her don’t seem to be working. Though Congresswoman Tlaib may have few allies in Washington, her recent fundraising numbers show she has little reason to feel alone. In the last quarter of 2023 — the period in which Hamas launched its October 7 attack, Israel initiated its genocidal war, and Congress censured Tlaib — her reelection campaign raised an astounding $3.7 million.

rashida tlaib

This level of fundraising for a House reelection campaign — outside of an expensive media market like New York — is practically unheard of. For comparison, in the same period, fellow Squad member Jamaal Bowman, who represents the Bronx and the suburbs of New York, raised only $724,000. Senator Ted Cruz raised $3.4 million for his reelection campaign — a statewide race in Texas, which is home to nearly thirty million residents. What’s even more impressive is that Tlaib, who refuses corporate donations, received donations from over 32,600 supporters, of whom 22,700 were first-time donors. Their average donation was $75.

For decades, progressive politicians have avoided vocal support for Palestine for fear that taking the principled position would amount to political suicide. The Israel lobby wields great influence and spends heavily to oppose candidates who show even a modicum of sympathy for the plight of Palestinians. But Tlaib is proving that independent, antiestablishment politics have a mass constituency.

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