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GOP Congressman Tries To Block Tlaib From Leading Delegation To West Bank

A Republican congressman is trying to block Representative Rashida Tlaib from leading a congressional delegation to the West Bank, Politico reported.

Rep. Brian Babin of Texas asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic committee chairs not to sign off on Tlaib’s suggested trip to the West Bank, according to a letter obtained by Politico. Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress and a supporter of boycotts of Israel, decided to plan her own trip for this summer after rejecting an offer to go to Israel with an AIPAC-affiliated group, a tradition for Congressional freshmen.

Babin wrote that a trip to “Israel’s nemesis” would “undo years of goodwill built by the foreign policy and Israeli-American communities.”

“Please consider the damage that a yet unexperienced and overly caustic Member of Congress may cause to Israeli relations, or the perceptions of our own Jewish-American citizens,” he continued.

Ironically, Babin’s letter repeatedly refers to the place Tlaib is planning to go as “Palestine” – which the United States does not recognize as an independent state.

Tlaib announced her intention to skip the AIPAC trip and go to the West Bank in an interview with The Intercept in December. “I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” she said. “I don’t think AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue… [T]hey 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.”

Foreign delegations only need the go-ahead from one committee chair to be approved. Tlaib would be far from the first member of congress to go to the Palestinian Authority on such a trip; one delegation in 2017 run by the American Israel Education Foundation, the AIPAC-affiliated trip organizer, included a stop in Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital, according to the Queens Jewish Link.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected]

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