WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas Rep. Brian Babin has issued a warning about Detroit congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s planned trip to Palestine, calling it “both ill-conceived and inconsistent with our national values.”
Tlaib is planning the trip as a response to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) trip, which is aimed at educating members of Congress about Middle Eastern affairs but is derided by critics and Palestinian freedom activists for being one-sided in favor of Israel.
Babin, a Republican from Woodville Texas, wrote Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a Democratic chairman urging them not to allow the trip.
“To signal to our most threatened ally in the region that the United States Congress sanctions an official trip to visit Israel’s nemesis would be an exceedingly dangerous path forward,” he wrote according to DallasNews.com.
Tlaib and fellow Muslim American Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which is aimed at holding Israel economically accountable for its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories.
While Tlaib wants to bring balance to the equation and show fellow congresspeople the reality of Israel’s occupation in the West Bank, which includes a system of heavily armed checkpoints and military outposts, Babin believes it could be damaging to America’s interests and would “undo years of goodwill built by the foreign policy and Israeli-American communities.”
“I don’t support taxpayer-funded Congressional junkets to Israel’s greatest threat,” he said, “especially one led by an avowed opponent of Israel. To prevent hurting our strong relationship with Israel, I call for rejecting (it).”
Tlaib on the other hand said that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the region is a significant obstacle to peace.
“I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” Tlaib told the Intercept last month. “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.”
Babin’s letter was submitted to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, a supporter of Israel.
The Texas rep. also told Politico that he wanted to block Tlaib’s trip because of her “complete, over the top comments” about President Trump as well.