After Initially Agreeing to Israeli Conditions to Visit Grandmother, Tlaib Declines Offer Which Would Have Muzzled Her
The Middle East Eye published my new piece about the Netanyahu government’s (willing) ‘cave’ to Donald Trump in banning Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from touring Palestine. But since that piece went live, new developments occurred. Please give is a read and promote it on your social media accounts.
Besides the important visits and consultations with Palestinian leaders and NGOs (along with planned meetings with Israeli Jewish and Palestinian MKs), Tlaib had a personal family purpose in the canceled trip: her 90-year-old sity, or grandmother, lives in a West Bank village. Tlaib hoped to see her on this visit, perhaps for the last time. After Netanyahu refused to permit her to enter Israel, she applied for a humanitarian permit for the purpose of visiting her relative.
What she didn’t expect was that as the Interior Ministry approved this permit, it released a letter from Tlaib (copy of letter here) declaring that she would agree not to advocate for BDS during her visit, and that she had also agreed to adhere to any further unspecified restrictions that might be placed on her.
When she sent this letter she made a grave error. Though she would have entered Israel-Palestine in a private capacity, she was still an elected member of Congress. She might just as well said she would agree to wear a muzzle and straight jacket during her trip. Such restrictions would have set a terrible precedent for the future.
The Israeli human rights lawyer who represented another Palestinian-American who successfully sued the same ministry after it denied her entry, said this:
Ms. Bechor warned that Ms. Tlaib, by having promised in writing not to promote boycotts during her planned visit, had likely given Israel ammunition to demand similar commitments from other Americans who support a boycott of Israel — even those who are married to Israelis or Palestinians and live in the country or on the West Bank.
Well-meaning progressive politicians don’t realize the power game Israel is playing. They’ve been at it far longer than any American politician has. Deri and Netanyahu are playing the long game, while members of Congress only look at what’s in front of them. To Tlaib, the promise to adhere to Israeli restrictions appeared a minor temporary inconvenience she could accept in return for seeing her beloved sity. But to Deri and his government, Tlaib was a dangerous figure who needed to be cut down to size. Releasing her letter, in which she appeared to capitulate to Israeli demands, made her appear a much smaller political figure.
As a further example of what Israel sought from her, imagine you are a real estate investor seeking to buy a commercial building. You enter into a contract with the seller specifying the price. The contract also includes terms saying that you will agree to abide by unspecified restrictions that the seller may place upon you in the future. What sort of contract is that?
Within hours, and likely after reading a firestorm of criticism from Palestinian activists, Tlaib had rejected the permit, declaring that she could not accept the terms the Israeli government sought to subject her to (see her statement).
In response, the interior ministry and Donald Trump published hate-filled tweets saying that the Palestinian-American had subjected Israel to a ruse and that her bad faith was evident in her rejection.
Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her “grandmother.” As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2019
Who puts scare quotes around the word “grandmother?” Is the Palestinian not her grandmother? Or is Trump saying that Tlaib’s relative is a Hollywood actor pretending to be family, just as Michael Oren accused the Tamimi family of not being Palestinians, but being “crisis actors.”
In their comments attacking Tlaib, neither Deri nor Trump acknowledged that thousands of U.S. Congress members have visited Israel for decades. Five Democratic members even visited Palestine under auspices of the same Palestinian NGO which was to sponsor her tour. None of them had any restrictions placed on their travel. The lesson learned from this is that Israel views not just Palestinians as its enemies, but U.S. citizens of Palestinian descent as enemies as well.
15 thoughts on “After Initially Agreeing to Israeli Conditions to Visit Grandmother, Tlaib Declines Offer Which Would Have Muzzled Her – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“it released an accompanying statement” – can you please share a link to the statement? From what I understand the letter Tlaib sent was leaked but I can’t find a statement anywhere.
@ Joshua Tartekovsky:
Seeking to make the post more comprehensive and complete, I’ve updated the post with Tlaib’s statement rejecting the permit and a link to the original letter she sent to the Interior Ministry. One of these may be the statement you seek.
Hi Richard and guests,
Grandmother Tlaib’s West Bank village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa, is built on a very famous Jewish village called Bethoron.
Two remarkable Jewish victories occurred at Bethoron; a Maccabean victory over the Greeks in 160 BC, and a Jewish victory over a Roman Legion in 66 CE.
@ Benyamin: Fun fact. There were Amalekite, Jebusite, Moabite and Canaanite villages throughout ancient Israel. And there were hundreds of clans and tribes who preceded them there. Since we’re validating Israeli theft of Palestinian lands, why not validate claims by these tribes to their ancient homelands? Oh, that’s right–they were all wiped out by those same ancient Israelites!
Oh, and no Palestinian destroyed that ancient Israelite site you mentioned. WHile Israel has destroyed 400 former Palestinian villages inside Israel.
Thanks for more details.I heard on the radio that Palestinian groups were upset that Tlaib agreed to go under the conditions set and either pressured her or made her see the light- whichever. Israel is afraid of the opposition’s moral arguments gaining even more supporters. Tlaib would showcase the injustice. Now she showcases Israel’s fear and weakness.As well it’s clear thatTrump and Netanyahu alternate playing poodle to each other, both all about themselves, their partisan politics and retaining power.
[comment deleted: I WILL NOT allow publications of lies here. Nor will I accept claims by the National Review that Hanan Ashrawi, who founded Miftah, is a terrorist. IF you publish anything like that again here you will be moderated or banned.]
Richard – No, It isn’t the statement I’m looking for. You have made an honest mistake, it will be better if you admit it rather than cover it like Israelis do.
I can see you have made major changes in the article but left the ‘real estate investor’ example. It is incorrect since Tlaib is the one who wrote the contract, not the other way around.
@ Joshua Tartekovsky:
I have done no such thing. You’ve published two comments in this thread which were entirely unclear about what you wanted and what your point was. You are now done. Do not publish another comment in this thread.
“What she didn’t expect … it released a letter from Tlaib … any further unspecified restrictions that might be placed on her.”
How can a letter she wrote herself would have “further unspecified restrictions”? This sentence has an internal logic contradiction.
She tried a stunt, it blew in her face, she folded her tail. End of story.
@ Ashkenazi: Did you read her letter? It’s linked in my post. In it, she writes:
There is no logical contradiction. THe only problem here is that either you haven’t read her letter or you failed to understand what she agreed to in that sentence.
The rest of your comment is cheap bullshit. REmember, the comment threads aren’t a venue for pro-Israel grandstanding. If that’s what you want, go elsewhere. And read the comment rules if you intend to comment further here. You are clearly going to run afoul of them if you do comment in future.
The present-day name of the village is a changed form of the older name of the village. The present-day village in other words is not built ON an older village, it IS that village. The inhabitants converted to Islam at some point. Luckily they were not kicked out by the wannabe ‘original inhabitants’ from Europe, as most other Palestinians were.
No. The National Review did not lie about MIFTA being associated with anti-Semitism and Neo-Nazi screeds.
None other then Peter Beinert admits that MIFTA has made anti-Semitic statements (for which it later apologized).
So now, the National Review, The Washington Examiner, and CNN’s Jake Tapper are all asking why Reps Omar and Tlaib are associated with a pro-Palestinian NGO that published anti-Semitic lies, and published Neo-Nazi screeds, and overtly supports or memorializes terrorists with blood on their hands.
BTW, the National Review never claimed that Hanan Ashrawi, who founded Miftah, is a terrorist.
Where did you read that?
BTW. Cat Stevens the former English rock star turned religious Muslim is barred from entering the United States and he hasn’t even done anything wrong.
IRA politician Gerry Adams, was similarly barred from entering into the United States.
A whole raft of foreign right-wing politicos are now barred from entering the U.K. because they might incite ‘hate speech’.
@ Benyamin: “None other than Peter Beinart?” What, you think Peter Beinart is the doyenne of the left? We all bow down and worship his every word morning, noon and night? Sorry chum, Beinart isn’t my lodestar when it comes to making judgments about anything Israel-related.
As for Miftah, you alleged that it was a terrorist organization. Now you’ve moved away from that and argue that it is anti-Semitic. They’re 2 different things in case you hadn’t heard.
Oh, and if Miftah is a terroist, anti-Semitic group as you and your confreres claim, tell me why you didn’t raise a stink when Rep. Marc Pocan and others went on an identical trip sponsored by the identical Palestinian NGO in the past? A bit of hypocrisy, no?
OMG, the National Review, Washington Examiner AND Jake Tapper ALL think Omar and Tlaib are anti-Semitic!! Really, that’s horrible! And shocking. Am I supposed to care about any of them and what they say on any subject? Because if I am, I’ve missed the memo. They are all shamattehs and lack credibility on this and most other subjects. So you’d best try again.
On second thought, don’t. No further comment from you in this thread.
Miftah didn’t publish anti-Semitic screeds, plural. It published a single article that was anti-Semitic. A single one. And later withdrew it and apologized.
Now I want you to find every Islamophobic, Palestine denying, hateful article ever written in every Israeli media publication or speech by Israeli politicians. And I want to see you demand and receive apologies for all of them. When you do come back here and we’ll talk. Till then, you’re peddling horse shit.
National Review claimed Miftah is a terrorist organization. Ashrawi founded Miftah. Do you mean to say NR actually said Hanan Ashrawi is a laudable figure untarnished by anything Miftah has done wrong? Becuase if it has, I’d love to see that.
Cat Stevens, Gerry Adams and all the other figures you mention are not elected representatives of the most powerful nation on earth and Israel’s closest ally. Oh and while we’re at it can you find any other U.S. Congress member ever denied entry to Israel? And after you answered that question, mind telling us why Proud Boys founder and white supremacist, Gavin McIniss was permitted entry to Israel the same week Tlaib and Omar were banned? THat should keep you busy…
Nice try. But you struck out again. Remember, no further comments in this thread. See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.
[comment deleted:I told you explicitly you were done in this thread. I also told you to read the comment rules. You ignored me. Do this again and you will be moderated.]
These kind of episodes are the new norm under the stewardship of Trump. Bullying, extreme partisanship, and demagoguery. The politics of contempt.
In Trumps latest horrifying comments he claims that Jews who vote for Democrats are being disloyal.
Not clear if he means disloyal to him or disloyal to Israel. Either way this is a dog whistle to the anti-Semitic right.