Dem Rep Says Rashida Tlaib Ought to 'Open Her Mind' About Israel

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Posted: Jan 30, 2019 1:48 PM
Dem Rep Says Rashida Tlaib Ought to 'Open Her Mind' About Israel

Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the first Palestinian-American member of Congress, has started her first year in Congress by profaning President Trump and supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel. The campaign encourages companies to boycott Israeli goods and services because of the government's occupation in the West Bank. She encouraged her colleagues to block a bill from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would give state and local governments authority to boycott any U.S. companies that participate in the BDS campaign. She even accused the legislation of being anti-First Amendment. That argument was immediately upended by the bill's author.

Now, Tlaib is starting to organize a congressional delegation for freshman lawmakers to the West Bank, instead of the usual trip to Israel organized by the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The AIPAC trip, she asserted last month, is a "one-sided" affair.

"It’s one-sided," she said. "[They] have these lavish trips to Israel, but they don’t show the side that I know is real, which is what’s happening to my grandmother and what’s happening to my family there.”

Her attempt to organize an alternative trip has earned her the wrath of a fellow Democrat, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), who told Al-Monitor that perhaps Tlaib should be more open-minded.

“Instead of her talking about things, she’s new here, she ought to listen and learn and open her mind and then come to some conclusions,” he said, according to the newspaper.

“If you’re going to be close-minded and have your views, no one’s going to change her views," he continued. "But I would hope that once you’re elected to Congress, you would at least care to see the other side of the coin.”

Like her fellow freshman, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also has a history of voicing anti-Israel sentiments and also supports BDS. Still, she was granted a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.