US Congresswoman Rashid Talib from the Democratic Party burst into tears Monday night when she shared her feelings about her decision to reject Israel’s permission to visit her 90-year-old grandmother.
The two Muslim lawmakers Talib and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar held a news conference at the Minnesota State Capitol Building with Palestinian and Jewish American who said they also have been affected adversely by the travel ban to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
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Talib choked up: “דhe said I’m her dream manifested. I’m her free bird so why would I come back and be caged and bow down?” My grandmother called me her ‘Asfur.’ in Arabic is a bird. She said I was her dream come true, her free bird – so why should I come back and be imprisoned and submissive when she (me) chose her head and gave her respect for the first time?”, Talib said.
Talib noted that she made her joint decision to refuse to visit Israel under restrictions with her relatives last night. “In tears, at 3 AM, we all decided as a family that I could not go until I became a free US congressman, who came there not only to see my grandmother but to talk to Palestinian and Israeli organizations who believe it deserves human dignity just like anyone else,” she said.
Talib and Omar, who support BDS movement to boycott Israel, called on their friends to visit it. The two said their friends should meet the same people they had planned to talk to, and visit places they wanted to tour. “Today we were supposed to be visiting Palestine and Israel. It is a common trip among members of Congress, but preventing Congress members from entering, or imposing harsh conditions – is not a common thing,” Talib said.
“History tends to repeat itself. I learned this week that a congressman was not introduced to South Africa in 1972 during the apartheid rule. As a young girl visiting Palestine, I saw my mother go through checkpoints deprived of her by a human photographer, even though she was an American citizen. The checkpoints, the tanks, and the guns, I remember driving to Jerusalem and my husband getting off the bus, despite being an American citizen, to search him.”
Talib continued “our delegation included meetings with former soldiers who were forced to take part in the occupation (breaking the silence organization), and they just like us to end it. The mission was designed to see first-hand the devastating and unhelpful separation fence, and to see how economic options are being prevented from Palestinian residents,” Talib said.” It is unfortunate that Netanyahu received instructions from President Donald Trump to prevent this visit. ”
Earlier, her party member Ilhan Omar said: “Contrary to what Netanyahu said, I had plans to meet with Israeli Knesset members, with security officials, alongside former soldiers and Palestinians.” She said: “We are here to highlight the human cost of the occupation and restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and others.
“The decision that bans me and my colleague is an attempt to hurt our functioning as elected officials. Netanyahu’s act is unprecedented towards Congressmen, but it is his policy toward those who want to end the occupation. The only way to maintain unjust policies is to suppress freedom of movement and expression,” Omar said.
“The Netanyahu government is trying to expel Omar Shakir from the human rights watch ‘Human rights watch’ for reporting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” the congressman continued. “All these acts do not bring us closer to peace – but vice versa. They preserve the occupation and the conflict. Each year, the United States provides aid to Israel because it is the only democracy in the Middle East and an important ally, but the denial of entry by American public teams is incompatible.” , She said.
Denied Entry by Israel:
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) August 18, 2019
Omar added that “we must ask whether Israel should not be forced to stop construction in the settlements as a condition of our assistance,” and thanked its colleagues for standing by it. “I believe that as legislators, we are obligated to see the reality ourselves. We have a responsibility to oversee our administration, and to ask what is happening with the millions of dollars we give to Israel. We cannot let Trump and Netanyahu hide from us the reality of the occupation. The occupation is real – and prevents members of Congress from seeing it In the eyes – we will not raise it. We must finish it together. ”
As previously mentioned, the two planned to visit Israel this week, but after an examination of the political echelon, they were defined as BDS supporters and the visit was canceled.
Last Thursday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that their entry into Israel would be considered a weakness, and shortly thereafter Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced the entry ban. Talib, whose elderly grandmother lives in the Palestinian Authority, asked Minister Deri to enter for humanitarian reasons and pledged a series of conditions designed to ensure that she did not use the visit for propaganda purposes. Deri approved the request, but a few hours later Talib announced that she was giving up the trip because she felt it was against her principles.
President Trump did not remain indifferent to Talib’s decision, tweeting: “Israel acted nicely and respectfully by agreeing to a congressional request to visit her grandmother. Soon after she declared she would not come. Could it be a show?” Trump added in another tweet that “Talib has written to the Israeli authorities that she desperately wants to visit her grandmother and that approval has been given to her very quickly, but she has rejected it. The only benefit is her grandmother. She won’t have to see her!”