President Donald Trump’s seemingly successful push to get Israel to punish two of his critics on hit a snag on Friday. The country’s government reversed its earlier decision and decided to allow Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to visit her family in the West Bank after all.
Trump was reportedly behind Israel’s announcement on Thursday that it would not permit two Muslim-American Congresswomen, Reps. Tlaib and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), to enter the country. While his administration falsely claimed that the president had not urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make the decision, this was contradicted by reporting, a former Israeli ambassador, and Trump’s own tweet. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit,” Trump had proclaimed.
Netanyahu originally agreed to bar Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel based on their support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, an effort to punish Israel economically for its treatment of Palestinian citizens. A month earlier, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer had promised Israel’s law denying entry to BDS supporters would not be used to keep out Tlaib and Omar as a sign of respect for the U.S. Congress. No member of the U.S. Congress had ever been prohibited from entry before this incident. Israel’s decision to ban the pair was denounced by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
CBS News reported on Friday that Israel decided to give Tlaib a “humanitarian pass” so she could visit her Palestinian grandmother and other family in the West Bank. AIPAC tweeted on Friday to “commend the Israeli government for permitting Congresswoman Tlaib to visit her grandmother.”
But Tlaib said Friday that she would not make the trip “under these oppressive conditions.” As of now, Omar will still be excluded from visiting.