Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Wednesday doubled down on her claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state and suggested that Jerusalem was trying to eliminate Palestinians.
Tlaib tweeted a picture of herself standing next to a Palestinian flag that she had placed in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
“Palestinians may be banned from flying their flag under an apartheid government, but we can still proudly do it at my office. I’m proud to be a Palestinian American and I want the Palestinian people to know that not all Americans support apartheid. No one can erase our existence,” wrote Tlaib.
The post was an apparent response to Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s crackdown on the celebration and promotion of terrorism by Arab Israelis.
Ben-Gvir earlier this month directed police to enforce a ban on the flying of Palestinian flags in solidarity with terrorist groups.
“We will fight terrorism and the encouragement of terrorism with all our might,” he said.
The decision came in the wake of the homecoming ceremony in the Arab village of ’Ara for Karim Younis, who was released from prison after completing a 40-year sentence for murder. Younis was convicted along with his cousin in 1983 for killing Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Avraham Bromberg.
After Karim was released from jail, he visited his mother’s grave, saying, “I am prepared to sacrifice another 40 years for the freedom of our people. My consolation is that today prisoners are united against the barbarity of the occupation.”
The compound where the homecoming was held was decorated with P.L.O. flags, and Younis himself also carried one.
Despite Tlaib’s claim, flying the P.L.O. flag in public is not on its own a criminal offense in Israel. However, police have the authority to take them down if they are displayed in solidarity with or sympathy for a terror group, or if there is a high probability that leaving the flag up will result in a public disturbance.
In September, Tlaib stated in an interview with the Al Jazeera network that she does not see how a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can work. She further claimed that Israel has an “apartheid system” and that U.S. policies towards it must change.
According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Tlaib said she disagrees with the left-wing lobby J Street because it “wants a two-state solution, and I always say that it is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to decide what their fate and determination is, and they are more moving towards a one-state [solution].”
Tlaib in May introduced a resolution calling for U.S. recognition of the Palestinian nakba, a term meaning “catastrophe” that is typically used by Palestinians to refer to the establishment of the State of Israel.
“The nakba is well-documented and continues to play out today. We must acknowledge that the humanity of Palestinians is being denied when folks refuse to acknowledge the war crimes and human-rights violations in apartheid Israel,” she said.