Rashida Tlaib to lead congressional Palestine trip in August
Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress, announced her intention to lead a delegation to the West Bank in December, saying that she intended to counterbalance the annual trip to Israel led by the prominent pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The high-profile AIPAC trip is open to all new Congress members accompanied by senior members of the House.
According to flyers seen by Jewish Insider, the trip will take place between 17-22 August 2019. The leaflets invited all congress members to join her on a "congressional delegation to the Occupied Territories in Palestine".
The trip will not be tax-payer funded, and is instead hosted by the Humpty Dumpty Institute, a US humanitarian-focused NGO.
Tlaib told The Intercept in December that the focus of her trip will be "issues like Israel's detention of Palestinian children, education, access to clean water, and poverty".
Tlaib's grandmother still resides in Beit Ur al-Foqa, a village in the northern occupied West Bank, where she may also take the group.
The US Representative also said that the AIPAC trip was "one-sided" and didn't give a "fair lens" on what was happening there.
"[They] have these lavish trips to Israel, but they don't show the side that I know is real, which is what's happening to my grandmother and what's happening to my family there," she said.
Over the past ten years, AIPAC has spent approximately $12.9 million on trips to Israel for 363 US lawmakers and 657 congressional staff members, according to analysis by The Intercept.
Tlaib forms part of a progressive wave of Democrats elected to Congress in the November mid-terms. Along with fellow incoming Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Tlaib declared her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions after her election victory at the end of last year.
Tlaib told The New Arab in July how going to the occupied West Bank as a child opened her eyes to the glaring inequalities left by systemic segregation. These experiences have informed her progressive platform on which she pledges to improve the lives of the residents of her Detroit district.
"Detroit has been neglected for so long. For me, it's a calling to serve, and a calling to protect. I think that comes from my Palestinian roots," she said in an interview.Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab