Rep. Rashida Tlaib's Cancelled Israel Trip Sparks Questions On Diplomacy, Bigotry

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri leads a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri leads a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset

Rashida Tlaib cancelled her trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories after Israel said it would allow her to visit her family on "humanitarian grounds" - a restriction the United States congresswoman said was "meant to humiliate" her.

Israeli officials later made a decision to allow Tlaib to enter for humanitarian purposes to see her grandmother, but the congresswoman said she would not travel there because of its "racist treatment" of her.

In her letter of request, she promised to "respect any restrictions" and said she would "not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit".

He called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ban the planned visit this weekend of freshmen Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of MI to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. "We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand".

Tlaib had evidently come under pressure from critics of Israel and supporters of the BDS movement.

Tlaib shook her head no.

"I think first it's important to note that Israel has the right as a sovereign nation to make these decisions", explained Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

When Tlaib initially requested the visit to her grandmother, she pledged not to "promote any boycotts against Israel".

Muftia Tlaib, the grandmother, said that she still hopes to see her granddaughter.

Trump pointed out that Democrat radicals like Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar were "fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party" instead of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ms Tlaib and Ms Omar are the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Ms Tlaib, who was born in the U.S. city of Detroit is also the first Palestinian-American congresswoman. The two are members of the Democratic Party and have expressed support for the BDS movement. In its lead article on Friday, the Times wrote: "Ms. Omar, who has drawn criticism even from fellow Democrats for engaging in anti-Semitic tropes in criticizing Israel..."

"Rep. Tlaib just tweeted that she won't be coming to Israel".

Deri tweeted about the encounter, saying he approved Tlaib's request to visit Israel as a "gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis". Tlaib elaborated on her decision in a statement.

"Like my grandmother said: 'I love that you are free as a bird there".

Tlaib and Omar represent districts in states Trump is aiming to win in his 2020 re-election campaign: MI, which he narrowly won in 2016, and Minnesota, which he narrowly lost.

Trump and Netanyahu are very much part of a violent, racist, elitist alliance that is gaining strength around the world. Being silent and not condemning the human rights violations of the Israeli government is a disservice to all who live there, including my incredibly strong and loving grandmother.

Miftah founder Hanan Ashrawi, also chair of its board of directors, has also accused Israel of "persistent colonialism, apartheid, racism and victimization", and said in a 2017 interview that Palestinian terrorist attacks "are seen by the people as resistance".

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