Democrat Palestinian-American rep-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is planning a trip for lawmakers to visit the West Bank to counter the Israel trips offered to new members of Congress by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Tlaib has also stated that she supports the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) protest movement against Israel.
“I want us to see that segregation [between Israelis and Palestinians] and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” Tlaib told The Intercept. “I don’t think AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue.”
“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.”
Tlaib is hoping to bring a delegation to Beit Ur al-Foqa, the West Bank village where her grandmother lives.
The soon-to-be Congresswoman also told the Intercept about her support for the extremely controversial BDS Movement.
“I personally support the BDS movement,” Tlaib told The Intercept, saying that it helps to raise awareness of “issues like the racism and the international human rights violations by Israel right now.”
Tlaib and incoming Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress and both have expressed their support of BDS.
The AIPAC trips are traditionally scheduled during the first August recess, and the new lawmakers typically meet with Israeli leaders in government and other sectors. Tlaib told the Intercept that she has no intentions of her delegation to meet with Palestinian leaders.
“While it has not yet been planned, Mr. Hoyer intends to once again serve as the senior member on a delegation of Members of Congress to Israel next year,” Annaliese Davis, a spokesperson for Hoyer, told the Intercept.
“The delegation trip to Israel is an opportunity for freshmen Members of Congress to learn more about regional threats and dynamics in the Middle East and the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Davis added. She wrote that the organizers of the AIPAC trip “work hard to show both sides of that conflict,” including meetings with Palestinian leadership, the Israeli advocacy group Peace Now, and “Israeli leaders from across the ideological spectrum.”