September 19, 2019

Rashida Tlaib Joins Shabbat Service in Detroit Park after Canceled Israel Trip

Rep Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, attends a Shabbat service in a Detroit park arranged by Jewish Voice For Peace Action arranged to show the freshman congresswoman support after she was denied entrance to Israel. (Courtesy of JVP)

(JTA) — Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., joined a Friday night Shabbat service in a Detroit park arranged to show the freshman congresswoman support after she was denied entrance to Israel.

The program in Detroit’s Pallister Park, attended by about 60 people, according to The Detroit News, was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the political and advocacy arm of Jewish Voice for Peace, a left-wing organization that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

“I cannot tell you how much love I feel here,” Tlaib told supporters at the event, according to a statement from JVP. “Thank you for lifting up peace, love and justice…I’m proud of my Palestinian roots, and I’m also strong because I grew up in the most beautiful, blackest city in the country, in the city of Detroit.”

Tlaib also said: “I can’t wait to show my grandmother how I was supported by all of you – it would bring her so much joy. One day we’re going to be able to hear the voices of people like my grandmother, who have not been truly seen or heard… And so, today, thank you for hearing me, thank you for seeing me, thank you for loving me. And thank you for allowing me to be not just your Congresswoman, but also a granddaughter of a grandmother living under occupation.”

Participants held signs reading “Jews Love Rashida” and “Dignity from Detroit to Palestine.”

Tlaib and fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., were barred from making a planned visit to Israel on Sunday because of their declared support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to apply his country’s 2017 law, which bans foreigners who publicly support Israel boycotts, to the two congresswomen.

Tlaib on Thursday submitted a humanitarian request to visit her aging grandmother in the West Bank, and Israel’s interior minister approved it. She changed her mind Friday morning, saying that in the end she could not enter Israel “under these oppressive conditions,” referring to the requirement that she agree not to promote boycotts against Israel during her trip.