Rashida Tlaib cancels visit to see Palestinian grandma after Israel treats her ‘like a criminal’
Rep. Rashida Tlaib Friday rejected Israel’s offer to allow a “purely humanitarian” visit to her elderly Palestinian grandmother in the West Bank.
The firebrand critic of the Jewish state tweeted that “it would kill a piece of me” to accept the stringent restrictions Israel sought. She insisted she would not “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. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H
Tlaib had told Israeli authorities just a day earlier that she would “respect any restrictions” if granted permission to visit her grandmother, or sity in Arabic, who is more than 90 years old. Israel’s Interior Ministry later approved the request.
But Friday morning, the Detroit-born lawmaker reversed course and said she would not go to the Holy Land after all.
“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me,” she wrote.
The dramatic about-face came after Tlaib was harshly criticized by some Palestinian activists for accepting Israel’s restrictions. Palestinian-Americans typically face major difficulty visiting relatives in the West Bank and those who are outspoken critics of Israel are regularly banned.
Israel denounced her statement as evidence the trip was a “provocation” from the start.
“Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri tweeted.
Israel had initially chosen to allow the visit, but flip-flopped on Thursday and banned them, claiming without providing evidence that the trip was designed to spark anti-Israel protests.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the unprecedented move against sitting members of Congress after being urged to do so by President Trump, who has feuded with the lawmakers and goaded supporters into racist chants aimed at them.
He was apparently unwilling to risk allowing a visit that might have turned into a political triumph for Tlaib and Omar — and a rare window for average Americans to see the injustice of the Israeli control.
Tlaib risked undermining her credibility with anti-Israel activists by accepting the offer of a non-political “humanitarian” visit, which might have cast the Jewish state in a more positive light.
The headline-grabbing controversy has turned into a major black eye for Israel in the Democratic Party, with presidential candidates all denouncing the Jewish state.