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"More than anything, I'm a granddaughter": Tlaib addresses supporters

Rashida Tlaib speaks out on being barred from Israel

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib emotionally told supporters in Detroit on Friday that she "should be on a plane" to see her grandmother in the occupied West Bank. Israel upended diplomatic norms earlier this week by barring her and fellow freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from joining a trip attended by other lawmakers. 

"More than anything, I'm a granddaughter," Tlaib said Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday the country's interior minister had decided to deny entry to Tlaib of Michigan and Omar of Minnesota, who were scheduled to visit next week. He said he supported the decision.

"As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel," Netanyahu said in a statement. "Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress."

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U.S. Democratic Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district Rashida Tlaib attends "Shabatt in the Park with Rashida" event on August 16, 2019 in Pallister Park in Detroit, Michigan. Jeff Kowalsky / AFP/Getty Images

Tlaib and Omar, who are both Muslim, have been outspoken critics of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. 

Tlaib had appealed to Israel on humanitarian grounds to allow her to visit her family but then decided against going after Israel reversed her decision. 

President Trump has been publicly feuding with Tlaib, Omar and the other congresswomen known as the "Squad" for weeks. Before the ban was announced, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that "it would show great weakness if Israel allowed" Tlaib and Omar to visit. 

On Friday night, Tlaib attended a Shabbat dinner with the liberal nonprofit group Jewish Voices for Peace, according to the Detroit News. "It is oppression to have travel restrictions placed based on your freedom of speech and to have conditions placed on your travel, that's not freedom or constitutes a democratic state,"  said Reuben Telushkin of JVP Action, who organized Friday's event. 

Mr. Trump tweeted several times on Friday night about Tlaib, writing that "Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her 'grandmother.'" He then suggested it was a "setup" and and wrote "the only real winner here is Tlaib's grandmother. She doesn't have to see her now!" 

Tlaib's 90-year-old grandmother responded angrily outside her home.

"May God ruin him," she said. "I was happy that she was coming. I was excited that she was coming, for her grandmother to see her." 

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Muftia Tlaib, the maternal grandmother of US Congresswoman Rashida, is pictured outside her home in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, in the occupied West Bank on August 15, 2019. Abbas Momani / AFP/Getty Images

Paula Reid contributed reporting.

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