WASHINGTON – An agreement has been reached to allow one of the two U.S. congresswomen barred from visiting Israel because of their support for a boycott of the Jewish State to enter the country, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced Friday morning.
“Congresswoman Tlaib has sent tonight a letter to Minister Deri in which she committed to accept all the demands of Israel to respect the restrictions imposed on her in the visit, and she also promised not to advance boycotts against Israel during her visit,” Deri said in a statement to CNN.
Tlaib (D-Mich.) is of Palestinian descent and was born in Detroit. Her 90-year-old grandmother and other extended family members live in the West Bank. The area has been under Israeli control since the 1967 Six Day War.
The agreement grants Tlaib entry on humanitarian grounds. She asked the Israeli government for permission to visit her family. The request was granted.
On Thursday, Deri announced that Tlaib and fellow Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota would not be allowed to visit Israel. Both lawmakers support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and both have been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks on several occasions.
Omar is still barred from visiting Israel. She and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. They are also the first U.S. lawmakers to be barred from visiting Israel.
The ban was announced shortly after President Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge that the congresswomen be denied entry to Israel.
It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
Tlaib and Omar tweeted their disdain for the decision.
This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening. pic.twitter.com/GGcFLiH9N3
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 15, 2019
It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/v00ESmehXT
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) August 15, 2019
Democrats condemned the decision to bar the congresswomen.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the preeminent pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S., said the group disagreed with the decision.
We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) August 15, 2019
The congresswomen had planned to tour the West Bank as part of a congressional delegation trip.
Omar sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Late-Friday morning Tlaib tweeted that she will not visit Israel because she rejects the government’s terms for trip.
Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
Deri subsequently accused Tlaib of using her grandmother as a provocation for the request for the trip.
I approved her request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel. Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.@realDonaldTrump @RashidaTlaib
— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) August 16, 2019