Congressman trying to nix Democrat's Palestinian Authority visit

Republican congressman from Texas pressing Democratic leaders to block Arab-American congresswoman from holding anti-AIPAC trip to PA.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib

A Republican lawmaker from Texas is trying to prevent freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from leading a delegation of freshman lawmakers to the Palestinian Authority.

The trip led by Tlaib, an Arab-American, would be held at the same time as the traditional Israel mission for first-term lawmakers sponsored by the education arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which includes touring and meetings with leading Israeli figures in business, government and the military.

Rep. Brian Babin said in a letter dated Jan. 17 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and circulated to fellow congressmen that the taxpayer-funded trip led by “an outspoken supporter of the ‘BDS’ Israeli boycott movement and whose personal vitriol led her to publicly brag about calling our President a “mother****er” to her young son, is both ill-conceived and inconsistent with our national values.”

He said that Israel is “of vital importance to U.S. interests in the Middle East,” and that a trip of lawmakers exclusively to the Palestinian Authority “threatens that relationship. 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.”

“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 also wrote.

Tlaib has called the AIPAC-sponsored trip “one-sided.” She said she would take lawmakers to the northern Samaria village of Beit Ur al-Foqa, where her grandmother lives.