Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., moved on Monday to force a vote on a resolution to censure Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., over his “incredibly dangerous and dehumanizing” comments conflating Palestinian civilians in Gaza with Hamas terrorists.
Jacobs filed her censure measure as a privileged resolution Monday, forcing House leadership to either bring the resolution to the floor for a vote or to table the resolution within two legislative days.
“Innocent civilians shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their governments – and they’re certainly not responsible for the actions of terrorists. That applies to Palestinians in Gaza and civilians around the world,” Jacobs said in a statement. “Rep. Brian Mast’s comments are incredibly dangerous and dehumanizing as we continue to push for humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in harm’s way in Gaza and as Islamophobic hate crimes rise.”
In moving to file her privileged resolution, Jacobs said on the House floor that Mast had been “conflating innocent Palestinian civilians with Hamas,” citing several statements from Mast in which she says the Florida Republican has failed to differentiate Palestinian civilians from Hamas in the wake of the terror group’s attack against Israel.
Mast “has repeatedly made inflammatory statements regarding innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza who are in harm’s way through no fault of their own as a result of horrific terrorist attacks conducted by Hamas on October 7, 2023,” Jacobs said in her resolution’s introduction.
Jacobs also said Mast’s “refusal to distinguish innocent Palestinians from Hamas terrorists is false, misleading, dehumanizing, dangerous and unbecoming of a member of Congress.”
More than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel since Hamas launched its largest attack against Israel in decades on Oct. 7, prompting military response from Israeli forces. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
Mast, a staunch supporter of Israel who previously wore his Israeli military uniform at the Capitol last month following Hamas’ attack, said in a House floor speech last week that “there are very few innocent Palestinian citizens,” according to a statement Jacobs cited in her resolution. The Republican congressman previously served as a volunteer with the Israel Defense Forces.
“I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of innocent Palestinian civilians, as frequently said,” Mast said at the time. “I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”
Jacobs’ effort to censure Mast comes as Georgia Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rich McCormick filed competing privileged resolutions to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., over her numerous comments criticizing Israel since the war began. This is Greene’s second effort to censure Tlaib after a vote on her initial resolution failed last week on the House floor.
Jacobs claimed in her resolution that Mast’s comments come as incidents of Islamophobia are on the rise in the U.S.
“The United States stands for the rule of law both here at home and abroad — and these comments denigrate those values and cause real, tangible harm,” she said in her statement. “That’s why I moved to censure Rep. Brian Mast to condemn this rhetoric and ensure this hate, fear, and violence stops here.”
When speaking to reporters on Monday, Mast described the attempt to censure him as “idiotic” and defended his comments on the House floor comparing Palestinian civilians to Nazis.
“I would challenge anybody [to] find me a better single word that you could use to describe the Palestinian relationship to Jews than Nazi,” Mast said. “I would say Nazi is the singular word that you could use to describe how they feel about Jews.”
“I think anybody that says it’s just Hamas is lying. And they know they’re lying,” he added.