Tlaib says she won't visit Israel after being treated like 'a criminal'

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIsrael should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support Jewish Democrats decry Trump's 'loyalty' remarks Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas MORE (D-Mich.) tweeted Friday that she will not go to the West Bank and Israel to visit her grandmother after Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE's government initially forbid her from entering.

Tlaib said Israel's government had sought to silence her and had treated her as a criminal and that she had decided she would not visit her grandmother under those circumstances. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me," said Tlaib, whose parents are Palestinian immigrants. "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."

Tlaib is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. The other, Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarJewish Democrats decry Trump's 'loyalty' remarks Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas Pelosi speaks with Israeli president after Trump controversy MORE (D-Minn.), was also barred from entering Israel.

Israel said it would not allow the two women to enter because of their support for the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which advocates for boycotting, disinvesting and sanctioning Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Israel passed a law earlier this year allowing the country to bar supporters of the BDS movement from the country.

The Netanyahu government on Friday said it would allow Tlaib to enter the country to visit her grandmother were she to file a humanitarian request, which the congresswoman later did. In the request, Tlaib pledged initially not to vocalize her support for the BDS movement while in the region.

In explaining her shift, Tlaib said that she wanted to make sure that she could speak "the truth" if visiting Israel.
 
"When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions," Tlaib said in a statement. "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."
 
“Racism and the politics of hate is thriving in Israel and the American people should fear what this will mean for the relationship between our two nations. If you truly believe in democracy, then the close alignment of Netanyahu with Trump's hate agenda must prompt a re-evaluation of our unwavering support for the State of Israel," she continued. 
 
"The denial of entry of a congressional delegation is not only about Congresswoman Omar and I, but also about the deep-rooted racism within Israel that is taking us further away from peace."

Israel decided to not allow Tlaib and Omar to visit the country after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE on Thursday urged them not to do so. Trump has repeatedly used Tlaib and Omar, who have both been critical of Israel's policies, as political foils.

Trump and Israel's government came under heavy criticism from Democrats for their actions, as well as from some Republicans. 

While most of the Republicans commenting said they disagreed with Omar and Ilhan on policy matters related to Israel, they argued that barring them from entering the country would give attention to their views and ammunition to Israel's critics.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit the country Sunday as part of a fact-finding trip after declining the opportunity to join a 70-plus member congressional delegation that visited Israel and met with top Israeli and Palestinian officials earlier this week.
 
Some GOP leaders including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.) faulted the two for not joining the bipartisan delegation earlier in the week, while adding that the two should have been allowed to come.
 
"They should’ve come with their colleagues," McCarthy told Fox News on Wednesday. "They should’ve come together where they can have a meeting with Israel, with the Palestinian Authority, with those who were running against Netanyahu at the same time."