Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) slammed the Israel-U.A.E. agreement announced on Thursday, which commits the two countries to establishing full diplomatic relations and commits Israel in particular to suspending its annexation of territory in the West Bank.
The agreement makes the U.A.E. the third Arab Middle Eastern nation to establish formal ties with Israel, joining Egypt and Jordan. In exchange for diplomatic relations, Israel agreed to suspend efforts to expand its territory in the West Bank.
Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into giving concessions to Palestinians living under its jurisdiction.
“We won’t celebrate Netanyahu for not stealing land he already controls in exchange for a sweetheart business deal,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter after the agreement was announced. “The heart of the issue has never been planned, formal annexation, but ongoing, devastating apartheid….This Trump/Netanyahu deal will not alleviate Palestinian sufferingâ€”it will further normalize it.”
Tlaib has used her position to advocate for Palestinian rights, however her advocacy has been overshadowed in some cases by association with outright anti-Semites. The Michigan congresswoman has an ongoing relationship with activist Zahra Billoo, who was expelled from the Women’s March in 2019 for controversial past statements, including that backers of Israel support “baby killers,” and that the FBI recruits mentally-ill people to join ISIS.
Because of their support for a boycott of the country, Israel in 2019 announced it would refuse to grant Tlaib and fellow BDS-supporter Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) entry ahead of their scheduled visit. While Israel subsequently granted Tlaib permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank on humanitarian grounds, Tlaib rejected the visit.
Tlaib and Omar were initially set for a tour Israel and the West Bank led by a Palestinian nonprofit called Miftah, which has published several pieces of anti-Semitic material. In 2013, Miftah published an article alleging that “the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.” Miftah also republished an American neo-Nazi article accusing the Jews of controlling the media, and has glorified suicide bombers.