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Tlaib Declares She Won’t Travel to Israel to See Her Grandmother

Rashida Tlaib + Ilhan Omar

Rep. Rashida Tlaib [1] (D-Mich.) (shown above left) indicated on Friday that she will not travel to the West Bank to visit family, despite getting permission hours before from Israel’s [2] interior minister.

This follows a diplomatic firestorm over the government’s earlier refusal to allow her and a colleague entry [3] as part of a broader visit.

Related: Israel Bars Omar and Tlaib, Both Democrats, from Visiting [3]

“I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression and injustice,” she tweeted.

This was an apparent reference to Tlaib’s earlier pledge not to promote boycotts of Israel during her visit.

In a series of tweets, Tlaib indicated that she did not want to abide by such restrictions.

“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 and racist policies,” she wrote.

Tlaib’s decision is the latest in a head-spinning series of reversals concerning plans by her and Rep. Ilhan Omar [6] (D-Minn.) (above right) to visit Israel.

The government earlier this year had signaled the two outspoken critics of Israel would be allowed to visit, for a trip planned for this weekend. But on Thursday, under pressure from President Trump, the government announced they would be blocked from entry — citing their support for an anti-Israel boycott movement.

While Tlaib and Omar were barred for their support of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), the government said it would accept a humanitarian request from Tlaib. In a letter sent to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Tlaib had requested being able to visit her Palestinian grandmother, who lives in the West Bank, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote of her grandmother, who is in her 90s.

Amid bipartisan criticism of its earlier decision, Israel swiftly agreed to allow Tlaib to visit family on humanitarian grounds.

“I will respect any restrictions and I will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

Amid bipartisan criticism of its earlier decision, Israel swiftly agreed to allow Tlaib to visit family on humanitarian grounds.

Yet Tlaib on Friday likened the conditions to “silencing me & treating me like a criminal,” saying, “It would kill a piece of me.”

It remains unclear whether either congresswoman will make any new attempt to visit the region at this stage. Democratic lawmakers on Thursday blasted Israel’s initial decision to block them as a sign of “weakness.”

Even pro-Israel lobby AIPAC came out against the move.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official Twitter account said Thursday that the congresswomen’s itinerary “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”

Before Netanyahu made the announcement, Trump tweeted that allowing them in would show “great weakness.”

The Associated Press contributed to this Fox News [7] report, which is used by permission.

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