Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) rejected Israel’s offer to grant her own request for “admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother who is in her 90s.” It’s been years since Rep. Tlaib last visited her grandmother. Tlaib, pleading for compassion, claimed this “could be my last opportunity to see her.” In return, Tlaib promised she would “respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.” This promise was significant because the Israeli government’s humanitarian gesture followed its original decision not to allow Tlaib and her “squad” comrade Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) entry due to their vociferous advocacy of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). BDS goes beyond spreading anti-Semitic hate speech to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel, which is bad enough. The BDS movement and its supporters are conducting economic warfare against Israeli Jews through a pressure campaign geared at intimidating anyone considering doing business with Israeli Jews. This pressure campaign facilitates discrimination based on religion and national origin, a violation of international human rights law. Thus, under Israeli law, supporters of BDS such as Tlaib and Omar can be prevented from entering the country. Nevertheless, the Israeli government was prepared to admit Rashida Tlaib for humanitarian reasons on the strength of her word to respect Israeli law. Tlaib’s quick turnabout on visiting her grandmother shows how her plea for permission to visit her grandmother was nothing more than a propaganda ploy.
Tlaib probably thought that Israel would not grant her request to visit her grandmother because of its distrust of her intentions. If Tlaib had turned out to be right, she and her fellow Israel-hating friends could then have used the denial of permission to portray Israel as an inhumane and oppressive state that deserves BDS-style isolation. Indeed, following the Israeli government’s original announcement that Tlaib and Omar would not be allowed to enter the country, Tlaib used her grandmother as a prop in a photo accompanying this tweet: “This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”
Too bad for Tlaib that Israel did not take her bait. Israel was willing to accept Tlaib’s word that she would not promote boycotts against Israel during her visit with her grandmother. Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, the government official who had approved Tlaib’s request, expressed hope that “she would keep her commitment and that the visit would truly be solely for humanitarian purposes.” But Tlaib had no intention of honoring her commitment. In response to the granting of her request to visit her grandmother, Tlaib tweeted, “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.”
After denouncing President Trump, Tlaib’s grandmother plaintively told journalists on Saturday, “My heart tells me that she will come.” But President Trump was not responsible for granddaughter Rashida Tlaib’s change of heart. It was Tlaib herself who threw her grandmother under the bus rather than take a break in her advocacy of the BDS movement for just a few days. As Interior Minister Deri tweeted, “I approved her request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel. Apparently her hatred of Israel is greater than her love for her grandmother.”
Tlaib claimed last April that “I’m more Palestinian in the halls of Congress than I am anywhere in the country, in the world.” Yet she has accused Israel’s supporters in Congress of having dual loyalties. On August 16th, Tlaib tweeted, “When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions.” So instead of prioritizing the interests of the American people in her district who elected her, Tlaib was more interested in advocating for “the Palestinian people.”
While still a representative-elect, Rashida Tlaib said she planned to organize her own trip to the troubled region “to humanize Palestinians” and to show “the side that I know is real, which is what’s happening to my grandmother and what’s happening to my family there.” Israel granted Tlaib the opportunity to visit her grandmother in her ancestral home in the West Bank, where Tlaib would have been free to observe and chronicle first hand any so-called “inhumane conditions” her grandmother and relatives were supposedly forced to endure at Israel’s hands. Nevertheless, in her same August 16th tweet after rejecting Israel’s offer to let her visit her grandmother as she had requested, granddaughter Rashida Tlaib said that she could not allow Israel to “use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.” Tlaib decided that adhering to her word not to promote boycotts against Israel for a few days during her visit with her grandmother would be too “humiliating.”
Tlaib’s anti-Semitic comrade-in-arms Ilhan Omar tried to portray Israel’s original decision to bar the duo from conducting their planned trip to the West Bank and east Jerusalem as “an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.” Quite the contrary. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained, Tlaib and Omar’s itinerary “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.” It was no accident that these anti-Semites’ preliminary itinerary was entitled “U.S. Congressional Delegation to Palestine,” erasing Israel’s identity as if it did not exist. That’s all the more troubling since the trip would have started with a working lunch with the “U.S. embassy Country Team” in Israel. Israel is the country the United States officially recognizes and through which Omar and Tlaib would have been passing. The itinerary title they used instead mentioned only “Palestine,” which the U.S. does not recognize as a state. It is no coincidence that the map of the region hanging in Tlaib’s office as she prepared to assume her congressional duties had replaced “the sovereign state of Israel with a post-it note that says ‘Palestine’ on it,” according to the Conservative Review, which featured a tweet of the altered map.
The criticisms, coming even from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), of Israel’s decision to deny Omar and Tlaib permission to embark on their own BDS-supporting itinerary are meritless. Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib were invited to join, in their official government capacities, 41 of their Democrat colleagues on a trip to Israel and Ramallah in the West Bank this month led by Steny Hoyer, the Democrat House majority leader. Israel gave no indication of standing in their way. As part of the Democrat delegation, Omar and Tlaib would have had the opportunity to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and present their views directly to the Palestinian leader. They could have held a joint news conference afterwards. The Republican 31-member delegation that was conducting a concurrent trip to Israel and Ramallah, by the way, did not have the same opportunity to meet with Abbas, who snubbed them.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who led the Republican delegation, was right when he said about Omar and Tlaib, “they should’ve come with their colleagues. They should’ve come together where they can have a meeting with Israel, with the Palestinian Authority, with those who were running against [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] at the same time. As long as you come with an open mind, open eyes and open ears, I think you have a responsibility to come here to have an understanding.”
Of course, Omar and Tlaib have anything but open minds. They chose not to join the large Democrat congressional delegation. Instead, they insisted on doing things their own way with an itinerary that pretended there was no State of Israel, only “Palestine.” And now there is the abandoned Congresswoman Tlaib’s elderly grandmother, who told NBC News on Saturday that “I can’t do anything. I’m really very sad. I hope, inshallah, that she will come back. I’m waiting for her.” Rashida Tlaib made the inhumane decision to put the BDS movement before visiting her grandmother. In granddaughter Tlaib’s own words, the visit Israel approved could be “my last opportunity to see her.” As a result of granddaughter Rashida Tlaib’s perverse priorities, her grandmother will be likely waiting in vain for her.