After Israel barred Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar from entering the country, critics were quick to slam the congresswomen’s planned tour for including an anti-Israel, and, quite frankly, anti-Semitic, group in their itinerary. But my most recent trip to Israel showed me that attacking visitors for their willingness to hear fringe voices isn’t actually the correct approach.
One month ago, I departed on my fourth guided tour of Israel. Unlike my other trips, this one was intended to show my group of young students, political staffers, and educators both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The article goes on to state the following:
On our first day, we were told that the speakers we would meet were on “opposite sides of the river” and were warned we’d likely be uncomfortable meeting these radical speakers — and that was a good thing. I realized the trip organizers were serious when halfway through the trip we were taken to Ramallah, and a senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official looked me dead in the eye and unapologetically told me that Hamas is not a terrorist organization (it most certainly is).
This was a stark contrast to my previous trips to Israel, which were either Zionist in their bent or more moderate. This past one, with the Philos Project, challenged my views and introduced me to ideologies I didn’t even know existed.
This was a holistic trip, and it offered me an invaluable, true exposure to the conflict.
Meanwhile, Tlaib and Omar’s planned trip was organized by Miftah, a Palestinian nongovernmental organization that supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, has praised Palestinian suicide bombers, and even published a false, anti-Semitic claim that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood for Passover.
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