Democratic Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib plans to lead a delegation of lawmakers to the West Bank, the congresswoman-to-be has told The Intercept.
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, told the publication that the delegation will focus on "Israel’s detention of Palestinian children, education, access to clean water, and poverty" and that the goal is "to humanize Palestinians, provide an alternative perspective to the one [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] pushes, and highlight the inherent inequality of Israel’s system of military occupation in Palestinian territories, which Tlaib likens to what African-Americans in the United States endured in the Jim Crow era."
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The Intercept said Tlaib was "rejecting [the] Israel lobby's influence over Congress" echoing and that her plan was a "rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to Israel sponsored by the education arm" of AIPAC. She has no plans to meet with any Israeli or Palestinian officials, said the report.
"I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region," The Intercept quoted Tlaib as saying . "I don’t think AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue. It’s one-sided. … [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."
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According to the Intercept, AIPAC's education arm has spent $12.9 million on trips to Israel for legislators and staffers over the past decade, trips that the publication called "among the lesser-known traditions for freshman members of Congress."
Tlaib told The Intercept that she personally supports the movement to boycott Israel, confirming speculation that emerged when she called on the United States to cut military aid to the country.
Before Tlaib won her primary in August, her campaign represented her as supporting a two-state solution and aid to Israel.
Since her primary victory, she has explicitly endorsed a one-state solution and called for an end to aid to Israel, prompting the pro-two-state-solution lobby group J Street to officially withdraw its support for her.
On the eve of the primary, Steve Tobocman, a senior adviser to Tlaib, told Haaretz that she supported a two-state solution. But in a post-victory interview, asked whether she supported a one-state or two-state solution, her response was clear: "One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work. I’m only 42-years old but my teachers were of that generation that marched with Martin Luther King. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work."
Representative-elect Ilhan Omar has also come out in support of boycotting Israel in remarks after her election, leaving many of her future constituents confused given that she said in August that the boycott movement was "not helpful in getting that two-state solution." She has also drawn criticism for calling Israel an "apartheid regime" that had "hypnotized the world" to ignore its "evil" policies.
In November, Tlaib and Omar became the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress.