Rashida Tlaib will not go to the West Bank after Israel grants request
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., citing “racist treatment” and “oppressive conditions,” said Friday she would not be going to the West Bank – hours after Israel said it would allow her into the occupied territory this weekend.
Tlaib had been allowed to enter the West Bank on humanitarian grounds to visit her Palestinian grandmother, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement on Friday. Deri’s office also published a letter from Tlaib, in which she said she’d respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” while in the country.
But after she was granted access to the West Bank, Tlaib announced in a tweet that she would not be going, saying the conditions placed on her trip were not what her grandmother would have wanted.
“I have…decided to not travel to Palestine and Israel at this time. Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” Tlaib said in a statement . “Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”
Deri responded to Tlaib’s announcement later Friday, saying that while he had approved Tlaib’s visit to her grandmother as a “gesture of goodwill,” Tlaib’s “hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”
Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., were barred Thursday from entering the country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the decision just hours after President Donald Trump tweeted that Israel should take that extraordinary step.
Netanyahu had left room for an exception when announcing the ban, though, saying that the Israeli government would consider a humanitarian request by Tlaib to visit her relatives.
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Omar and Tlaib – the first Muslim women to serve in Congress – had planned to travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, among other stops, this weekend. The two progressives have been sharply critical of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
The two lawmakers had been blocked because of an Israeli law passed in 2017 that allowed Israel to ban foreigners who publicly supported boycotts of Israel.
Both lawmakers had voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which, among other goals, aims to pressure Israel into ending its occupation of most of the West Bank.
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Omar and Tlaib say their support for movements like BDS are based on policy disagreements, not anti-Jewish sentiment.
Critics of the boycott movement, however, call it “economic warfare” against Israel.
Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY; The Associated Press