Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib broke down during a press conference about her botched trip to Israel Monday, condemning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for taking “a page out of Trump’s book.”
Tlaib of Michigan and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar were denied entry into Israel because of their support for the boycott, known as Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Anyone supporting boycotting Israel can be denied entry into the country under Israeli law.
Tlaib then requested permission to go visit her grandmother and promised not to promote boycotts, and was granted permission to enter the country. Hours after being granted a humanitarian visa, Tlaib denied the visa and went after the Israeli government for “oppressive conditions.”
“As a young girl visiting Palestine to see my grandparents and extended family, I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints,” Tlaib said Monday as she broke down. “Even though she was a United States citizen and proud American.”
She continued stories about Israel, saying that she was “humanizing the pain of oppression.”
Tlaib said it was “unfortunate” that the prime minister took “a page out of Trump’s book” by denying her entry into Israel, although the government granted her a humanitarian visa that she turned down.
The congresswoman also discussed the plight of Palestinians in Israel.
“Our delegation trip included meetings with Israeli veterans, who were forced to participate in military occupation,” Tlaib said about her intended trip. “They also desperately want peace and self-determination for their Palestinian neighbors. They could have shed light into injustice of raids, shootings, demolition and child detention.”
“They could have asked the people in Bethlehem how walls cut people off away from economic opportunities, from a way to live and do psychological damage that lasts forever. All I can do as her granddaughter is help humanize her and the Palestinian people’s plight. I know that when we can finally see them as deserving of human dignity everyone who lives there will be able to live in peace.”
Tlaib ended her speech by saying that all Americans “should be deeply disturbed” because others have been denied access to visit family members in Israel as well.
The two congresswomen were also originally denied entry into Israel because the trip was being funded by Miftah, “an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel,” the prime minister wrote in a statement. A group of Democratic lawmakers were allowed into Israel in 2016 during a partially-sponsored trip by Miftah, according to Politico.
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- Rep. Rashida Tlaib addresses reporters during a press conference on Aug. 19, 2019.: Screen grab