Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) announced on Friday that she would not be traveling the state of Israel only hours after the Israeli government approved her special request to visit her family in the West Bank.
“My sity wanted to pick figs [with] me. I broke down reading this [and] worry every single day after I won for my family’s safety,” Tlaib said in a series of tweets. “My cousin was texting me which photo of [Omar] & I they should put on a welcoming poster when I heard the news. I couldn’t tell her.”
“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions,” she continued. “I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me [and] use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive [and] racist policies.”
Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
The Israeli government initially blocked Tlaib from visiting the country citing her vocal support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish the Jewish State by politically and economically starving the country.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has referred to BDS a “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.” Accordingly, the Israeli Knesset passed an anti-BDS law in 2017 that blocks foreign activists from gaining entry to the country.
“No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek the harm the country.”
with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 15, 2019
Following Israel’s decision to bar Tlaib, the Michigan congresswoman followed up with a special humanitarian request to gain entry into the country and visit her grandmother. In the letter, she expressed the need to see her aging grandmother and vowed not to promote any boycotts against Israel while in the country.
Interior Minister Ayre Deri subsequently granted her request, but Tlaib swiftly turned it down.
“Silencing me [and] treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me,” she said. “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in – fighting against racism, oppression [and] injustice.”
Tlaib became the first Muslim woman in the United States Congress after she won election in the 2018 midterm cycle. Her time in office has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism. The member of the so-called “Squad” has faced widespread backlash for her close ties and periodic meetings with extreme anti-Israel activists and terrorist supporters.
Tlaib has a close relationship with pro-Hezbollah, anti-Israel activist Abbas Hamideh, who she invited to her congressional swearing in ceremony and the following private dinner. She also invited Palestinian activist Joe Catron, an avowed supporter of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hezbollah, in her Capitol Hill office in April.
Tlaib was also a member of multiple anti-Semitic groups on social media, which includes the Facebook group “Palestinian American Congress,” where members constantly demonize Israel and the Jewish people. The founder of the aforementioned Facebook group, Maher Abdel-qader, is an anti-Israel activist and was a key fundraiser for Tlaib’s congressional campaign.