Just hours after the Israeli government announced Friday that it would lift its previously announced ban and allow U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) to enter the country, she said she will not go through with her planned visit.
Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Dari, approved a request Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, submitted Thursday to enter the country and visit her 90-year-old grandmother living in the West Bank. Tlaib said in a letter that she would “respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
But in a surprise reversal Friday morning, Tlaib responded with a statement in which she said the Israeli government’s “racist treatment … meant to humiliate” her has led her to cancel her visit.
“The Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and made my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter,” Tlaib wrote in a statement.
“I have therefore decided to not travel to Palestine and Israel at this time. Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”
When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. 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. https://t.co/OYIwExV0ga
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
The Israeli government announced Thursday it would bar Tlaib and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the country for their support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Both Tlaib and Omar have long been outspoken advocates for the rights of Palestinians.
Before Israel announced its ban Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that the two representatives “hate Israel & all Jewish people” and that allowing them to visit would “show great weakness.”
In the aftermath of the ban, Tlaib responded publicly by tweeting that the decision to ban her was a “sign of weakness” in its own right, and drew the support of fellow members of Congress and presidential candidates including U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Israel doesn't advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views. This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 15, 2019