U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib broke into tears Monday as she recalled her family's decision last week to reject Israel's conditional offer to let her visit her 90-year-old grandmother.
"We all decided as a family that I could not go until I was a free United States congresswoman coming there, not only to see my grandmother but to talk to Palestinian and Israeli organizations that believed my grandmother deserved human dignity as much as anyone else does," Tlaib said at a news conference with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
On Thursday, under pressure from President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Tlaib and Omar from entering the country due to their support for boycotting the Jewish state over its harsh treatment of Palestinians. A day later, Israeli authorities granted her permission under conditions that would have restricted her travel and included a written pledge not to "promote boycotts against Israel" while visiting.
“There is a piece of you that gets broken," Tlaib said. "I grew up in the most beautiful, blackest city in the country, where you don’t let anybody tell you, 'you are less than,' or humiliate you solely based on your faith or your ethnicity, and as a United States congresswoman, I could not do that to my grandmother."
Omar pledged she and Tlaib would fight against Trump and Netanyahu "until we take our last breath."
"We are going to hold our heads up high, and we are going to fight this administration and the oppressive Netanyahu administration until we take our last breath," Omar said.
"There are so many people invested in our pain, in our struggle, in seeing us broken," she continued. As we fight for the most marginalized people, we have our internal liberation carry us to external liberation. There is no way we are ever, ever going to allow people to tear us down, to see us cry out of pain, to make us feel like we are less than."
Last week's ban came a few days before the two congresswomen were expecting to visit Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank as part of a tour by a Palestinian group.
In 2017, Israel enacted a law that bars the entry of foreign nationals who support boycotting the country.
On July 23, Tlaib and Omar voted against a House resolution to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The House voted 398-17 in favor of the measure, which criticized the boycott-Israel movement as one that “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American from Detroit, and Omar, a naturalized citizen from Somalia, are the first two Muslim women in Congress.
Trump’s attacks on Tlaib and Omar are just the latest in a series of racist rants in which he said the congresswomen should “go back” to where they came from, even though Tlaib was born in America and Omar is a naturalized citizen.
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