Omar and Tlaib Barred from Traveling to Israel for Support of BDS

 

The Israeli government has barred Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13) from traveling to the country due to their “suspected provocations and promotion of BDS.”

The congresswomen were planning to visit Jerusalem and the West Bank as part of a tour organized by a Palestinian organization to highlight the plight of Palestinians, the Associated Press reports.

A few hours before the announcement, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that it would “show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”

“They hate Israel and all Jewish people, and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace,” Trump said.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is “open to critics and criticism,” but noted that the itinerary for the trip “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”

“Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress,” he added.

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a frequent target of Omar and Tlaib, criticized Netanyahu’s decision on Twitter Thursday.

“We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand,” the group said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) called the “denial of entry” a “sign of weakness and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel.”

“The president’s statements about the congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President,” she added.

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called the decision “shameful” and “unprecedented” on Twitter.

“Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views,” she said.

Omar released a statement on the decision Thursday afternoon, comparing Netanyahu’s decision to “Trump’s Muslim ban.”

“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected members of Congress,” Omar said. “Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories. Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

Omar concluded by saying it’s her “job to conduct oversight of foreign aid” as a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation,” she said.

Tlaib responded by posting a picture of her grandmother, who lives in Palestine.

“This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace and with human dignity,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness because the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.
Photo “Rashida Tlaib” by Rashida Tlaib. Background Photo “Israel” by Dennis Jarvis. CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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