Palestinians Back Tlaib in Row with Trump

RAMALLAH (AP) -

Palestinians on Monday denounced President Donald Trump’s attack on U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, accusing him of racism and saying it once again proves his bias against the Palestinian people.

Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was one of four congresswomen of color who were targeted in a Trump Twitter barrage over the weekend.

President Trump said the women should go back to the “broken and crime infested” places they came from, ignoring the fact that all are American citizens and three, including Tlaib, were born in the U.S. Trump also accused them of saying “terrible things” about the U.S. and said they “hate Israel.”

Although Tlaib has never lived in Yehudah and Shomron, she still has relatives in the area and is widely seen as a local hero for making her way to the highest levels of American government.

Bassam Tlaib, an uncle of the congresswoman who lives in Yehudah and Shomron, called the president’s comments “a racist statement meant to target Rashida because she has Palestinian roots.

“This statement proves that Trump is anti-Palestinian, anti-Islam and completely biased toward Israel,” he added.

Ibrahim Milhim, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said Trump’s statement is an “insult” to the office of the presidency and the laws of the U.S.

“It’s an insult to the Statue of Liberty, America’s most famous symbol, an insult to the American values where migrants from all over the world are united as one nation under one law,” he said.

It was not clear why President Trump mentioned Israel in his latest tweets. Omar ignited a bipartisan uproar in Washington early this year when she suggested that members of Congress support Israel for money, a well-known anti-Semitic trope. Tlaib, meanwhile, has endorsed the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on Trump’s tweets. But Netanyahu’s son Yair, who serves as an unofficial adviser to his father, welcomed them.

“Thank you so much! You are the best friend the Jewish people ever had in the White House!” Yair Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

Yossi Shain, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Tel Aviv University, said he was not surprised that Israel had been dragged into the debate.

“Their hostility toward Trump, and the fact that Trump is in intimate relations with Netanyahu, make progressive voices in the U.S. into Israel haters,” he said.