I’ve now watched two national news programs, with both reporting on Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s decision not to visit her aged grandmother in Israel after all.
You probably know the details. Originally Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were going to visit Israel (“Palestine,” they called it, in the usual let’s-get-rid-of-Israel way), and Israel said okay. After a tweet from Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew the invitation. Tlaib and Omar became martyrs to the Woke, and many (including me) said that Israel’s withdrawal of the invitation was a mistake.
But then Israel agreed to let Tlaib visit her grandmother on the West Bank, so long as she abided by Israel’s law that visitors must not promote the BDS program. Tlaib agreed to that in writing. So the visit was on. (Omar was still banned.)
But then Tlaib got a bunch of criticism from Palestinians and critics of Israel, all saying that she had caved in to Israel’s unreasonable demands—demands she had agreed to in writing. And so, more concerned about demonizing Israel than visiting her grandmother (“perhaps for the last time”, she said), she decided not to go after all.
That’s all well and good. The problem is that, at least in the two national news shows I’ve heard, her withdrawal was characterized as “Tlaib refuses to meet Israel’s onerous demands.” The same distortion was evident (of course) in HuffPost’s reporting of the incident:
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said Friday that she will not visit her grandmother in the West Bank, after the Israeli government reversed a prior decision barring her from the country.
In a statement, she accused officials of “racist treatment” and of seeking to “silence” her voice. She said she won’t go to Israel “under these oppressive conditions.”
. . .Tlaib, whose family is from Palestine, later wrote to Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Deri, to say she’d like to visit her grandmother, who is in her 90s.
“This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote in the letter.
Early Friday, Deri announced that Tlaib would be allowed to visit on humanitarian grounds, provided that she would “accept all the demands of Israel to respect the restrictions imposed on her in the visit, and she also promised not to advance boycotts against Israel during her visit.”
In response to her cancellation, Deri accused Tlaib of making “a provocative request.”
Here’s the sick part: nowhere does HuffPost (or the news stations) report that Tlaib AGREED to the Israeli conditions, and canceled her trip only after she got criticized by her pro-Palestinian allies. This is grossly distorted reporting designed to make Tlaib look good and Israel look bad.
Look at the HuffPost headline:
At least the New York Times got it right. These distortions—always to the detriment of Israel—are pervasive in even the mainstream liberal media, and they add up not to objective reporting but to an ideological agenda.
Tlaib agreed, and then changed her mind. The cancelation of her trip is due not to Israel’s onerous demands, but to Tlaib’s realization that she had screwed up and angered her allies.
As Tlaib said of her gran, “this could be my last opportunity to see her.” How sad that, as Israel’s interior minister tweeted:
I approved her request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel. Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.@realDonaldTrump @RashidaTlaib
— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) August 16, 2019
And that is absolutely true.