Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has decided to cancel her trip to Israel – hours after being granted permission by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to enter the country to visit her elderly grandmother.
“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions,” she tweeted Friday morning. “I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & 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.”
On Thursday, Israel had announced it is barring the two from entry – an unprecedented move targeting members of the U.S. Congress. Israel’s decision came after President Donald Trump said in a tweet it would show “weakness” to allow in the two Muslim members of Congress who have been sharply critical of him and of Israel’s policies.
*****PLEASE NOTE: Make sure you are one of the more than 20,000 that signed up to YWN WhatsApp Status to receive news in live time. Click this link – or send a message to 1-888-4-YW-NEWS (888-499-6397) – to see our status posts*****
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 decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sparked widespread criticism, including from Israeli and Jewish organization which said it was an affront to U.S. institutions to bar the entry of members of Congress. Critics also argued that it weakened Israel’s traditionally strong ties with the U.S. through heavy-handed partisanship.
On Friday, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced the latest twist – that Tlaib had requested and been granted permission to enter the West Bank to see relatives, including her 90-year-old grandmother.
Deri’s office published what it said was Tlaib’s written request, on congressional stationary.
In her letter, Tlaib said this would likely be the last chance to see her grandmother and that she would respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” during her visit.
Deri’s office said he “decided to allow her entry to Israel and hopes she will stand by her commitment and that the visit will be for humanitarian needs only.”
Then, just hours later, she announced she would not go to Israel.
Tlaib and Omar are known as supporters of “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” or BDS, a Palestinian-led global movement. Israel alleges that BDS targets Israel’s very existence.
Israel’s decision Thursday had been an extraordinary step bringing the longtime U.S. ally into Trump’s domestic fight against political rivals at home.
Israel announced the ban Thursday after Trump tweeted that “it would show great weakness” if the two were allowed to visit. Asked later if he had spoken to Netanyahu, he said, “I did talk to people over there,” but he declined to say to whom.
Omar, who became the first Somali-American elected to Congress, denounced the ban on her and Tlaib’s tour as “an affront” and “an insult to democratic values.”
In Israel, Netanyahu said Thursday that his country remains “open to critics and criticism,” except for those who advocate boycotts against it.