After deciding to block U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the country as part of a planned visit, the Israeli government rescinded that block – on Tlaib at least – lifting the ban and allowing her to come on a “humanitarian visit.”
However, after earlier accepting the olive branch that was held out by the Israelis and saying she would go, the Michigan Representative has now released a statement saying she will not visit the Jewish State, citing “oppressive & racist policies” for not going to Israeli-occupied West Bank, allegedly to see her grandmother.
“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 – reflecting just how undemocratic and afraid they are of the truth my trip would reveal about what is happening in the State of Israel and to Palestinians living under occupation with United States support,” she said 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,” Tlaib’s statement continued.
No change was made regarding Omar’s visit.
President Trump Defends Israel’s Decisions
Originally, President Trump supported the ban by Israel. Soon after hearing about the move to bar their visit, Trump called Tlaib and Omar “very anti-Jewish and anti-Israel” and defended his statements urging Israel to block them from entering the country, amid a massive outcry from Democrats.
Speaking to reporters after deplaning Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey, Trump said recent comments by the two freshmen Democratic lawmakers about Israel were “disgraceful,” arguing they have become the “face of the Democrat Party.”
The President continued, “They are very anti-Jewish and they are very anti-Israel, I think it is disgraceful the things they’ve said.” Trump then added, “This isn’t a one-line mistake. What they have said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing and they’ve become the face of the Democrat Party.”
The unprecedented move to bar Tlaib, D-Mich., and Omar, D-Minn., from visiting marks a deep foray by Israel into America’s bitterly polarized politics. Israel’s move came shortly after Trump tweeted that the Israeli government would “show great weakness” if it allowed the lawmakers in.
President Trump has not weighed in on the latest in this head-spinning series of reversals concerning plans by Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., to visit Israel.
It remains unclear whether either congresswoman will make any new attempt to visit the region at this stage.