Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has decided to cancel her trip to Israel—hours after being granted permission by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to enter the country to visit her elderly grandmother.
“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions,” she tweeted Friday morning. “I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my city to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.”
Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) had both been denied access to enter Israel under pressure from President Donald Trump, who suggested Thursday that the Israeli prime minister would appear “weak” if he allowed the congresswomen to visit.
Friday morning, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri then backtracked on the ban after Tlaib wrote a letter asking that she be let in to see her grandmother, who is in her nineties. “This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote, according to a copy of the letter published in Israeli media. “I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
Then, hours later, she reconsidered, tweeting that her grandmother would in fact not want her to visit under the conditions laid out. It is unclear if Israel sent guidelines to the Democratic representative that have not yet been made public.
“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me,” Tlaib tweeted as part of a thread explaining her decision not to go. “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.”
After the congresswoman’s turnabout Friday morning, Deri blasted her decision in a tweet: “I authorized this humanitarian trip, but it turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”