Debate Surrounds Congresswoman Speaking At Conference

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) made waves on Saturday by speaking at an anti-Israel conference in Detroit, Michigan, linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which the U.S. designates as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

The event, known as the People’s Conference for Palestine, took place at Wayne State University and drew over 3,000 attendees from across the U.S. and beyond. The goal of the conference was to strategize and prepare for future efforts in the Palestinian struggle.

During her speech, Tlaib criticized President Joe Biden and her congressional colleagues, urging them to take stronger actions to stop what she termed the “genocide” in Gaza.

The conference featured sessions on topics such as “Palestinian Resistance and the Path to Liberation,” “Confronting Zionism in Higher Education,” and “Zionism and U.S. Imperialism.” Attendees, many wearing keffiyehs, participated in a vendor fair showcasing Palestinian art and clothing.

Among the speakers was Wisam Rafeedie, an activist associated with the PFLP, and Sana Daqqah, wife of PFLP terrorist Walid Daqqah. The PFLP, a Marxist-Leninist group active in Gaza and headquartered in Damascus, Syria, is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., Japan, Canada, and the European Union. Walid Daqqah, who passed away in April from cancer while imprisoned in Israel, was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

The conference drew significant attention and controversy, particularly given the PFLP’s involvement in recent violence. The Israel Defense Forces indicated that Hamas, responsible for the brutal October 7 invasion of Israel, may have handed over hostages to the PFLP. During the conference, Rafeedie dismissed claims that Hamas fighters committed atrocities on October 7 as “cheap lies” and propaganda.

Prominent figures such as Michael Horowitz have noted that the PFLP and Hamas coordinate their activities in Gaza, particularly concerning hostage situations. The PFLP has openly boasted about its role in the October 7 massacre, where 1,200 people were killed, and 240 hostages were taken.

The conference also saw endorsements from figures like Salah Salah, a founding member of the PFLP. Wisam Rafeedie, who ran a clandestine PFLP publishing house in the 1980s, and Sana’ Daqqa were notable speakers, highlighting the group's historical and ongoing impact.

Rep. Tlaib’s participation in this conference underscores the complex and often contentious nature of U.S. political discourse surrounding Israel and Palestine, especially when connected to groups designated as terrorist organizations by multiple countries.

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