Accuracy in Media

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) were banned from traveling to Israel by the Israeli government this week, which led to media coverage and some resulting disinformation by the mainstream media. The Israeli government enforced a law which permits the Interior Ministry to allow or ban individuals from traveling to Israel if they are supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS movement advocates for organizations, companies, individuals, academics, and universities to boycott, divest from, or sanction entities related to the Israeli government or the government itself.

Yet, the National Public Radio article on the controversy, the sole mention of the BDS movement was at the end of the article when the news outlet cited a tweet from AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group. Although the article mentioned the Israeli government barred Tlaib from visiting due to her support for anti-Israel boycotts, it did not go into detail of what the BDS movement is. It is a disservice to readers that this important piece of information was not included nor was it discussed throughout the article.

Also, part of the criteria was that both congresswomen did not agree to tour the Temple Mount and other sites under the guidance of the Israeli government, nor did they plan meetings with state officials, as is customary for American officials when visiting Israel.

Tlaib initially reconsidered and reapplied for permission to travel to the West Bank to visit her 90-year-old grandmother. In a letter sent from Tlaib’s office to the Israeli Interior Ministry, Tlaib pledge to “respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

However, she reversed her decision and tweeted, “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

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