Israel, who was conditionally allowing Tlaib to visit the occupied West Bank, issued a list of demands for the U.S. congresswoman that prohibited her from promoting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) during her stay.
The U.S. congresswoman, in turn, said she would not visit her family there because the Israeli government had imposed these “oppressive conditions” to humiliate her.
Tlaib, a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives who has been critical of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, had planned to make an official visit to Israel along with fellow Democrat congresswoman Ilhan Omar from Minnesota.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under pressure from Republican U.S. President Donald Trump, on Thursday said he would not allow the pair to make a planned trip to Israel. On Friday, Israel decided to allow Tlaib to visit family in the Israel-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds.
But the Michigan congresswoman rejected the offer.
“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 tweeted, using the word sity to refer to her grandmother.
“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,” she added.
Israel’s Interior Ministry said it had received a letter from Tlaib on Thursday seeking permission to visit her family, and granted her request.
Tlaib, in her tweets, did not outline what the conditions imposed on her visit were. Israeli media, however, reported that she had agreed not to promote boycotts against Israel as part of her request to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib listens to a comment from a constituent during a Town Hall style meeting in Inkster, Michigan, U.S. August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Tlaib and Omar have voiced support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which opposes the Israeli occupation and policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Under Israeli law, BDS backers can be denied entry to Israel.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who had approved Tlaib’s visit request, blasted her decision not to come.
“It turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” he wrote on Twitter.