Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar Condemn Israeli Government For Travel Restrictions
Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar condemned the Israeli government for barring them from their planned trip to Israel during a press conference on Monday.
Rep. Ilhan Omar started first by explaining that the two congresswomen had planned to meet with Isareli representatives, security, and the United Nations while visiting, which is contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated last week.
Netanyahu stated,“Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.” Netanyahu added, they “listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Isreal, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government of the opposition.”
Omar also criticized the $3 million in aid that the United States gives Israel every year. Omar asked Netanyahu to cease the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land and to give full rights to Palestinians.
“This is predicated on being an important ally in the region and being the only democracy in the Middle East,” Omar said. “Denying someone the freedom of movement is not consistent with being a democracy.”
The freshman lawmaker blamed President Trump for pushing Muslim and Jews against each other. “We cannot let Trump and Netanyahu succeed in hiding the cruel reality of occupation from us. Barring members of congress from seeing it does not make it go away,” said Omar.
THERE. IT. IS.— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 19, 2019
Rep. @IlhanMN says Israel is not an "ally" to America and is not a "democracy."
Omar goes even further, saying America should cut our foreign aide to Israel.
Then she said Israel is "occupying Palestinian land."
These are vicious anti-Semitic lies.
A disgrace pic.twitter.com/Fe7KltQ0KR
Last Thursday, Tlaib sent a letter to Israel’s Interior Minister expressing her desire to see her relatives and her 90 something year-old grandmother, mentioning this could be her last opportunity to see her. Tlaib also wrote that she would “respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel” during her visit.
Tlaib’s petition to visit was approved, but one day later, Tlaib decided against visiting, calling the conditions of her visit “oppressive.”
Here is Rep. Tlaib’s letter to Israel’s Interior Minister:
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
Last Friday, Tlaib tweeted, “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.”
Tlaib added, “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.”
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
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri responded to Tlaib’s announcement about not visiting,“Rep. Tlaib just tweeted that she won’t be coming to Israel. Just yesterday she sent me a letter, asking to visit her 90 year old grandmother saying, “it might be my last chance to meet her.” Deri added, “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 hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”
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 hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.@realDonaldTrump @RashidaTlaib— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) August 16, 2019
Rep. Tlaib spoke after Omar’s speech, condemning Israel for putting conditions on her visit. She talked about her experience while in Palestine and became emotional when she spoke about her mother having to go through “dehumanizing checkpoints in Israel,” even though her mother is an American citizen.
Tlaib said,”It is unfortunate that Prime Minister Netanyahu has apparently taken a page out of Trump’s book.”
“All I can do as my Sitty’s granddaughter, as the granddaughter of a woman who lives in occupied territory, is to elevate her voice by exposing the truth the only way I know how by humanizing the pain of oppression,” explained Tlaib.
Here’s the entire press conference:
.@RepRashida and I are holding a press conference on the recent travel restriction to Palestine and Israel.— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) August 19, 2019
I will also be joined by fellow Minnesotans who are directly impacted from travel restrictions to Israel and Palestine. WATCH 👇🏽👇🏽 https://t.co/Av0A4GhtUg