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Missouri Representative Cori Bush has escalated her criticism of Israel in recent weeks, becoming one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli government

Missouri Representative Cori Bush has escalated her criticism of Israel in recent weeks, becoming one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli government in Congress and an active supporter of a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Her critique of Israel's military actions following the Hamas attack on October 7, which resulted in at least 1,400 casualties, has sparked outrage and revealed a division among Democrats on how to respond to the conflict. Some of her statements have faced negative reactions in her electoral district in Missouri, which includes all of St. Louis and some of its suburbs.

Despite facing backlash and serious challenges due to her remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bush claims that her duty as a member of Congress is to advocate for people she considers oppressed, even if it makes others uncomfortable.

"Part of my job is to actually talk about what's happening so that we can really get to the root and actually solve the problem," Bush said in an interview with NPR.

Bush's role in politics is rooted in activism, especially in the protests that arose after a police officer shot Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. She has long noted commonalities between Black people in the United States and Palestinians.

"My convictions are based on my experience as an activist in the movement to save Black lives," Bush said at a virtual press conference last month.

Democrats divided on ceasefire calls

Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, left, and Representative Marc Veasey of Texas stand with candles as members of Congress hold a candlelight vigil in support of Israel on the steps of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Washington. Alex Brandon/AP When Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib faced a vote of no confidence on Tuesday in response to her controversial statements about the war between Israel and Hamas, Bush immediately supported her fellow Democrat.

She said those supporting the condemnation led by Republicans, ultimately backed by 22 Democrats, were "clearly trying to silence the only Palestinian representative of America" in Congress.

Her passionate defense of Tlaib is not the first time Bush has expressed solidarity with Palestinian Americans—or Palestinians in general. As the war has continued for a second month, Bush and a small but growing faction of Democrats are calling for a ceasefire. Last month, Bush introduced a resolution to the House calling on the Biden administration to seek a ceasefire, which currently has over a dozen co-sponsors, including Tlaib, New York Representative Jamaal Bowman, Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, and Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal.

Bush says the ceasefire is supported by various world leaders and groups, including Amnesty International. However, the Biden administration has argued that a ceasefire would give Hamas time to regroup and instead called for humanitarian pauses, which, according to them, would allow humanitarian aid and people to move safely within Gaza.