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Rashida Tlaib Breaks Down in Presser With Ilhan Omar, Responding to Netanyahu, Trump and the Israel Ban

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) broke down crying over her experience with the “realities of oppression” in Israel in a press conference Monday.

Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) gave a press conference following Israel’s decision last week to ban them from visiting the country, a ban that was subsequently lifted for Tlaib — though she called off the trip regardless.

Tlaib said that earlier this month, 71 members of Congress traveled to Israel without issue. “What is not common occurrence as members of Congress being barred from entering a country on the fact-finding missions unless they agree to strict set of rules curtailing rights or being required to submit their itinerary for stop by stop approval,” Tlaib said of the conditions required of her travel.

It was when Tlaib spoke of her childhood experience in Israel that she began crying: “As a young girl visiting Palestine to visit my family I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing check even though she was a United States citizen and proud American.”

She spoke of shaking with fear when passing checkpoints, and how her previous husband was once escorted off of a bus “so security forces could harass him.”

“Our delegation trip included meetings with Israeli veterans, who were forced to participate in military occupation. They also desperately want peace and self-determination for the Palestinian neighbors,” said Tlaib.

“They could have shed light on the injustice of raids, shooting and demolition and child detention. The delegation would have seen firsthand why walls are destructive.”

Omar said the decision to ban the first two Muslim American women elected to congress is “nothing less than an attempt by an ally of the United States to suppress our ability to do our jobs as elected officials.”

“But this is not just about me. Netanyahu’s decision to deny us entry might be unprecedented for members of Congress. But it is the policy of his government when it comes to Palestinians. This is the policy of his government when it comes to anyone who holds views that threaten the occupation,” said Omar. “A policy that has been edged on and supported by Trump. That’s because the only way to preserve unjust policy is to suppress people’s freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of movement.”

Last week, the president pressured Israel to ban the two congresswomen from visiting the country.

The Israeli government then announced it would not allow Omar and Tlaib to visit based on their support for BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). Tlaib wrote a letter asking for admittance to see her grandmother there. After Israel granted her permission to visit, she rejected the offer citing “oppressive conditions.”

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