MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – While Israel said Friday that Rep. Rashida Tlaib will be allowed to visit relatives on the West Bank, she has since backed off plans for a visit, calling the Israeli government’s conditions “oppressive.” Meanwhile, Rep. Ilhan Omar remains barred from the country.
On Thursday, Israel said it was blocking the Democratic congresswomen from entering the country for a planned visit next week, citing their support for a Palestinian-led boycott movement over the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
Democratic leaders condemned Israel’s decision, which was supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump, who tweeted just before the decision was made public that Israel would “show great weakness” if it let the congresswomen visit.
Both Omar and Tlaib are outspoken critics of Israel’s government. Omar, who represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, called the decision to block her and Tlaib an “insult to Democratic values.”
Additionally, Jewish groups, including the Israeli national lobbying group AIPAC and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, denounced the decision.
The reversal for Tlaib came after she wrote to Israeli officials requesting to visit relatives on the West Bank. The Michigan representative, who is the child of Palestinian immigrants, had her request granted on humanitarian grounds.
CBS News reports that Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement Friday that Tlaib said she would respect any restrictions and would not promote boycotts during the visit to her grandmother on the West Bank.
However, Tlaib tweeted Friday that the conditions of the visit were “against everything I believe in.”
“Silencing me and treating me like a criminal is not what [my grandmother] wants for me,” she wrote. “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 and injustice.”
Tlaib and Omar were the first Muslim women elected to Congress. They are part of a group of progressive lawmakers known as “the squad,” and have often been a target of criticism for Trump. Last month, he called them “a nightmare for America.”
Earlier this year, Omar was accused of making anti-Semitic comments in her criticism of Israel. She has since apologized for particular comments, but continues to be a critic of the Israeli government.