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Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Israel thanks, but no thanks just a few hours after the nation walked back its decision to ban the lawmaker from entering the country.
The congresswoman announced Friday morning that she wouldn’t travel to Israel because of “racist treatment that many Palestinian-Americans endure when encountering the Israeli government.”
The decision from Tlaib comes just hours after Israel reversed course and said it would let the freshman Democrat visit her family — her 90-year-old grandmother in particular — in the West Bank after she reportedly promised not to promote protests against Israel during her visit. But Tlaib said Friday morning she could not abide by those conditions and that Israel used the love of grandmother against her.
“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions,” Tlaib, who’s a member of a group of progressive Democratic women in Congress known as “the Squad,” wrote on Twitter. “I can't allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity [sic] to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.”
Tlaib said her family has cried throughout the ordeal, but that her grandmother wouldn’t want her to visit under the condition of not speaking out politically.
“Silencing me with treatment to make me less-than is not what she wants from me — it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice,” Tlaib wrote in a statement that called Israel “undemocratic” and “afraid.”
The move from Tlaib is just the latest twist in a saga full of them. Here’s a recap of what happened:
- First, Tlaib and her colleague in the HOuse, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar were scheduled to visit Israel. They’re both supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes boycotting Israel in protest of its human rights abuses against Palestinians.
- But after some prodding from President Donald Trump, Israel barred the lawmakers from entering the country on Thursday. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” the president tweeted.
- The move sparked widespread outrage. Even the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was upset with the decision.
- Friday morning, Israel said it would allow Tlaib to enter the country for a humanitarian visit so long as she didn’t promote protests during the trip. “This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote of her grandmother in a letter. “I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
After Tlaib said she could not abide by those conditions Friday morning, Israel was quick to respond with an attack of their own.
“I approved [Tlaib’s] request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel,” wrote Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Twitter in a post that tagged Tlaib and Trump. “Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”
Cover: US Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, questions US Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July 18, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)