- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2021

President Biden heaped praise on Israel critic Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Tuesday during a visit to Michigan, saying he was praying for the safety of her family in the West Bank during the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

The president met with Ms. Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat who has criticized his response to the Middle East fighting, on an airport tarmac for about eight minutes upon his arrival.

Later, during a speech at Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge plant in Dearborn to promote electric vehicles, Mr. Biden singled out the lawmaker who is the only Palestinian-American in Congress.

“I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people,” Mr. Biden told Ms. Tlaib. “From my heart, I pray that your grandmom and family are well. I promise you that I’m to do everything to see that they are. … You’re a fighter, and God, thank you for being a fighter.”

Ms. Tlaib, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, has urged the president to lean harder on Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which she has accused of committing war crimes. She also has been accused of spreading misinformation on social media about the conflict.

“Enough, President Biden, you will not do this on our watch,” Ms. Tlaib said on MSNBC on Monday. “You have to speak out against this violence in a very aggressive way that holds Netanyahu and his leadership accountable.”

Nearby in Dearborn, pro-Palestinian protesters gathered to demonstrate against Mr. Biden‘s visit. The city just west of Detroit is home to a significant Arab American population.

During the president’s test drive of the new electric Ford F150 Lightning pickup truck on a test track, reporters asked Mr. Biden if they could query him about Israel.

“No, you can’t — not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it,” the president told reporters. “I’m only teasing.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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