(JTA) — A Republican lawmaker from Texas is trying to prevent freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from leading a delegation of freshman lawmakers to the West Bank.
The trip led by Tlaib, who is Palestinian 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 West Bank “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 West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Foqa, where her grandmother lives.