One day after the state of Israel made headlines, controversially rejecting the visa requests of two American members of Congress, the focus of the media spotlight has turned to one of those members herself, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Israel’s original reason for rejecting their visas has never wavered. Issuing them would go against an Israeli law passed in 2017 to allow supporters of the unambiguous, anti-Semitic BDS movement into Israel – a movement which both congresswomen have expressed support for on many occasions.
BDS’s goals as a movement are simple– to economically strangle Israel through boycotts, divestment and economic sanctions, and to use tactics of foreign intervention to subvert direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Furthermore, the group that the two were slated to do tours with has a dark history of publishing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In 2014, the group called Miftah perpetutated blood libel, reposted an article by National Vanguard Books (a neo-Nazi group), and has openly celebrated Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
In addition to the group with whom they planned to meet, Tlaib herself has a dark history of associating with terror-supporters, including celebrating her election with Hezbollah-supporting Abbas Hamideh.
Instead, Israel chose to offer a humanitarian exception to Tlaib, who had previously implied that a mission of her trip was to visit her Grandma in the disputed Palestinian territories.
This morning, Rep. Tlaib elected to reject the good-faith compromise deal offered by Israel, showing in her purported motives.
Part of the deal was that this trip to the West Bank was that this would be a humanitarian trip, not a political one. The terms were simple– in exchange for the privilege of her visit, Tlaib would not engage in anti-Israel propaganda while she was there nor bite the hand that was feeding her, if you will.
Tlaib took to Twitter to be affronted by these terms, claiming that Israel’s offer to make her an exception to existing law was “silencing me and treating me like a criminal.” In essence, she admits that the purpose of her trip in the first place was not to visit family, but to make a political scene.
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. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
In short, here is a recap of this two-day saga:
1. Israel chooses to reject the visas of Reps. Tlaib and Omar per an existing and established law.
2. Tlaib and Omar decry this as somehow Islamophobic, and an entire new cycle ensues.
3. Tlaib establishes that her goal in the visit was to visit her Grandma.
4. Israel attempts to meet Tlaib halfway, offers a humanitarian exception, thus reversing their previous stance.
5. Tlaib wholly rejects the compromise, and changes her reason to visit from familial to overtly political.
In what seemed to be a PR loss for Israel as they appeared intolerant of dissenting views, Rashida Tlaib has seized defeat from the jaws of political victory. She is exposing how she used her elderly grandmother as an emotive prop in her original reason to visit, which was to propagandize against the Jewish state.