As Colorlines reported Thursday (August 15), the Israeli government barred United States Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from visiting the country after President Donald Trump tweeted, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”
Israel’s far right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing criminal corruption charges and is running for re-election, reportedly barred the members of Congress because they support boycotts against Israel.
In a rebuke to Trump, Republican and Democratic supporters of Israel and the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) condemned the country’s action as undemocratic and a political mistake. Tlaib herself responded to the ban with a letter to Israel’s minister of internal affairs, Aryeh Deri. In it she asked to visit her grandmother, who is in her 90s, and pledged not to promote a boycott during her trip.
Breaking: Israel’s interior minister just approved @RashidaTlaib’s petition to enter Israel ‘on humanitarian grounds’ to visit her Palestinian grandmother @ the West Bank. She had to promise not to promote #BDS during the visit https://t.co/e8K2ZgtOUQ pic.twitter.com/q9ULe25xX2— Noa Landau נעה לנדאו (@noa_landau) August 16, 2019
Israel relented, but some Palestinian figures criticized Tlaib’s decision to go.
What is truly upsetting is that @RashidaTlaib fell in this trap and accepted to demean herself and grovel. Israel is the oppressor and its racist attitude towards Palestinians is established policy. Rashida should have known better. She should have acted with more dignity & pride https://t.co/ahAJ0s9Vg9— Nour Odeh (@nour_odeh) August 16, 2019
This morning, Tlaib tweeted that she would not visit the country after all.
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. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019]
The BDS Movement lauded the reversal.
Attempts by Israel’s far-right regime to humiliate @RashidaTlaib failed. Palestinians do not bow to oppressor’s diktats. We continue our struggle, including through BDS, until we see the light of freedom and justice at the end of the long, dark tunnel of Israel’s apartheid rule. pic.twitter.com/F7aNwHjAVk— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) August 16, 2019
As of press time, Israel had not rescinded its ban on Representative Omar.