- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee slammed a push by one of his party’s freshman lawmakers to lead a congressional delegation to Palestinian-controlled territory.

Rep. Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, said in an interview Tuesday Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s planned trip suggests she isn’t being open-minded.

“Instead of her talking about things, she’s new here, she ought to listen and learn and open her mind and then come to some conclusions,” Mr. Engel told Al-Monitor.

“If you’re going to be close-minded and have your views, no one’s going to change her views. But I would hope that once you’re elected to Congress, you would at least care to see the other side of the coin,” he added.

Ms. Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat who is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, said last month she’d like to lead a group of lawmakers to the West Bank, instead of joining another already-planned trip to Israel. That trip is sponsored by pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which routinely schedules visits for newly elected members of Congress.

Ms. Tlaib’s suggestion drew fire from critics including Rep. Brian Babin, a Texas Republican who urged House leaders to nix the trip.

“To signal to our most threatened ally in the region that the United States Congress sanctions an official trip to visit Israel’s nemesis would be an exceedingly dangerous path forward,” Mr. Babin said in a letter to House committee chairmen.

According to The Intercept, Ms. Tlaib said the AIPAC trip doesn’t provide “a real, fair lens” about segregation.

She would need permission from a committee chairman or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make the voyage.

Ms. Tlaib recently made headlines when a video went viral of her calling President Trump a “mother–—r.”

Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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