Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has been fundraising off her canceled trip to Israel last week after being granted a humanitarian request to visit her grandmother, following her and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) being barred from Israel due to their support of the anti-Israel BDS movement.
A fundraising email sent by left-wing political action committee Democracy for America calls on people to “chip in whatever you can to stand with her and Ilhan now as they continue to fight for justice for all.”
Despite the humanitarian request, the email states that the freshmen congresswomen “were banned from traveling to Israel and Palestine,” the latter of which is not an actual country.
“I’ve dealt with sexism, racism, and Islamophobia my entire life—so I knew that would continue if I pursued a high-profile public office and won,” says Tlaib in the fundraising email. “What I didn’t anticipate was for that discrimination to come from the President of the United States.”
The fundraising plea also slams Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It’s very telling when a so-called democratic ally bans elected members of Congress from visiting because of our political views and values,” states Tlaib. “It’s even more disturbing and completely unprecedented that our own president encouraged this undemocratic action. What is Netanyahu afraid that we will witness, that we will bring to light?”
She continues, “Not only am I heartbroken that I cannot meet the people of Israel and Palestine to witness their struggles firsthand, but I am heartbroken I can no longer visit my Palestinian grandmother, who just days ago was excited to decide which fig tree we’d pick from together.”
Finally, she claims, “The Israeli government ultimately decided they would let me visit, but under one condition: that I sign a letter restricting my freedom of speech in order to stop me from speaking out against the inhumane conditions Palestinians like my grandmother are forced to face by the Israeli military occupation.”
After rejecting Tlaib’s visit due to her support for the BDS movement, Israel did permit Tlaib to visit on humanitarian grounds to see her elderly grandmother.
In her letter to Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who approved her request to visit her grandmother, Tlaib wrote that “This could be my last opportunity to see her,” referring to the freshman congresswoman’s grandmother, who is in her 90s. “I will respect any restrictions, and I will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
Nevertheless, Tlaib soon reversed her decision and decided against the visit.
In the fundraising email, Tlaib writes, “No matter how badly I wish to see my grandmother, I know she would not want me to do so under such degrading circumstances that go against everything I believe in: fighting racism, oppression, and injustice.”