Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who was originally denied entry into Israel along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar because of their support of boycotts that targeted the country, was later admitted entry on humanitarian grounds so that she could visit her grandmother who lives in the West Bank.
Israel’s decision to ban both lawmakers was widely criticized in Washington, D.C., by a number of politicians. Their approval of Tlaib’s application to see her grandmother, based on a letter Tlaib wrote that explained it might be her last chance to visit with her, was seen as an effort to smooth over the controversy.
But on Friday, Tlaib announced that she was canceling the trip, citing that she didn’t want to break her grandmother’s heart by traveling to the country under “oppressive conditions,” according to Fox News.
Tlaib’s decision to cancel the trip drew fierce criticism from the Israeli government, specifically from Aryeh Deri, Israel’s interior minister. Deri slammed Tlaib in a tweet that accused the U.S. lawmaker of putting politics over her grandmother.
“Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” Deri tweeted on Friday, after explaining that he approved her request as a “gesture of goodwill.”
Just before that, Tlaib blasted Israel in a series of tweets, one of which called the Jewish state “racist” and “oppressive.”
“I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies,” Tlaib tweeted.
Earlier this year, the Israeli government knew that the two lawmakers — who have a history of criticizing Israel — were set to visit the country and signaled at the time that they would be allowed to visit. The trip was supposed to kick off on Sunday.
But on Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted that Israel would “show great weakness” if they admitted the two Muslim American lawmakers into their country. The original announcement that the two were banned from entering came shortly after the president’s tweet.
Later, in Tlaib’s letter requesting permission to visit her grandmother, she wrote “I will respect any restrictions and I will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit,” which prompted Israel to approve her request.
Her tone changed on Friday, saying “It would kill a piece of me,” and equating the conditions to “silencing me & treating me like a criminal.”
As The Jerusalem Post reported, on Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu accused both Tlaib and Omar of planning the trip to further push a boycott against Israel and “deny Israel’s legitimacy” after defending the decision to deny entry to both lawmakers.
He also cited a law that allows for denying entry to those who support boycotts of Israel.