Rep. Rashida Tlaib has changed her mind about taking a trip to see her family in the West Bank, after Israel had granted her permission to visit so long as she committed to not advocating for a boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
Tlaib, who is from Michigan, submitted a letter to Israel's interior minister Thursday evening requesting permission to visit relatives, especially her grandmother, who is in her 90s.
Tlaib initially agreed that she would “respect any restrictions and not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.” The Interior Ministry decided on Friday to approve her entry into the country.
But in a tweet Friday, Tlaib said instead that visiting under such conditions 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 and injustice,” Tlaib said.
Tlaib’s decision came a day after Israel barred Tlaib and another Democratic congresswoman, Rep. Ilan Omar, from making an official trip to Israel-annexed East Jerusalem and cities in the West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday tweeted his support for the decision to bar Tlaib and Omar's official visit, saying it was intended to "harm Israel" because of its planned itinerary.
Shortly before Thursday's ban, President Donald Trump tweeted, "It would show great weakness" if Israel allowed the trip, adding that Tlaib and Omar "hate Israel & all Jewish people."
Omar, a first-term Congress member from Minnesota, put out a statement Thursday afternoon calling the situation "an affront" but "not a surprise," given the relationship between Netanyahu and Trump.
The decision to block the congresswomen's visit attracted criticism in the US, not only from allies of Tlaib and Omar, but also from pro-Israel groups including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.