By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed Tuesday congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's emotional criticism of Israel's decision to deny her and a fellow lawmaker entry.
Trump continued to falsely claim Tlaib is anti-Semitic in his Twitter broadside after Tlaib and fellow freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar criticized the decision to bar them, cancelling a trip that was planned to begin last weekend.
"Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears," Trump said. "I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite."
While Tlaib and Omar were banned from visiting Israel because of their support for a Palestinian-led international boycott movement, Tel Aviv did eventually allow Tlaib to visit her aging grandmother on humanitarian grounds.
But Tlaib, a U.S.-born Palestinian-American, recounted how her grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank, told her not to visit under circumstances she considered humiliating.
"She said I'm her dream manifested. I am her free bird. So, why would I come back and be caged and bow down when my election rose her head up high?" Tlaib said as she recounted the conversation while holding back tears. "As a United States congresswoman I could not do that to my grandmother."
Tlaib further recounted how, as a child and later as an adult, her visits to Palestine to visit family exposed her to the "pains of oppression," including watching her mother being subjected to "dehumanizing checkpoints," and her ex-husband's shakedown at the hands of Israeli security forces.
"All I can do," she said, "is to elevate the truth the only way I know how."
Trump has strongly backed Israel's decision to deny the elected U.S. lawmakers to visit the country and the Palestinian territories, saying before it was publicly announced that allowing them entry would be a "show of weakness.”
The decision, however, has roundly sparked bipartisan criticism outside of the Trump administration.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio called the decision "a mistake," and the main pro-Israel lobbying group on Capitol Hill offered its own tempered criticism.
"We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution," said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which seeks to maintain bipartisan congressional support for Israel. "We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand."