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Outrage Grows After ‘Chilling Call for Genocide’ by Florida Republican

Calls to censure Michelle Salzman, who said, ‘All of them’ when Democrat asked: ‘How many [dead Palestinians] will be enough?’

Michelle Salzman, a Florida state representative, in Tallahassee last year. [Photograph: Phelan M Ebenhack/AP]

Outrage continues to grow over a public comment made by a Florida state Republican lawmaker calling for all Palestinians to die.

The remarks came during a debate in the state legislature about calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s invasion of Gaza, which has so far killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, many of whom are children. The assault came after Hamas fighters attacked Israel from Gaza, killing at least 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostage.

In the speech in support of the ceasefire resolution, the Democratic Florida state representative Angie Nixon said: “We are at 10,000 dead Palestinians. How many will be enough?”

“All of them,” Michelle Salzman called in reply.

Nixon acknowledged the interruption and said: “One of my colleagues just said, ‘All of them.’ Wow.”

The Florida state house later voted 104-2 to reject Nixon’s resolution.

Salzman’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair-Florida), the US’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said in a statement that Salzman’s remarks were a “chilling call for genocide” and a “direct result of decades of dehumanization of the Palestinian people by advocates of Israeli apartheid and their eager enablers in government and the media”.

The news comes on the heels of the censure of the Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in the US Congress, after Tlaib echoed a popular rallying cry for Palestine that some have called antisemitic but others say is a call for Palestinian civil rights.

The censure resolution, which was supported by 22 Democrats, punishes Tlaib for allegedly “calling for the destruction of the state of Israel” and “promoting false narratives” about the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israel.

In Florida, calls for Salzman to be censured are being made by those opposed to her comments.

“Salzman’s words are incredibly dangerous and dehumanizing to Palestinians here at home and under the Israeli occupation,” the Cair-Florida executive director, Imam Abdullah Jaber, said. “She must face her party’s censure and a public repudiation from all Florida legislators.”

Hours before Nixon’s speech, Israel agreed to daily four-hour humanitarian pauses. But Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, reportedly rejected a deal for a five-day ceasefire with Palestinian militant groups in Gaza in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages.

On Thursday, Joe Biden said there was “no possibility” of a ceasefire.


(c)2023, The Guardian


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