Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prohibited Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from visiting Israel, following an unusual intervention by Trump, who is shining a spotlight on its most liberal members.
Hours before the decision to block the lawmakers, Trump tweeted that approving the visit would “show great weakness.” He also said that Omar and Tlaib “hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”
A senior White House official said that Trump never directly told Netanyahu to prohibit the visit but that advisers conveyed the president’s views to the Israeli government after it initially said the women would be allowed in.
The Jewish Chronicle reports: Israeli officials have confirmed to local media that they will bar entry to US Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib over their support for the BDS boycott movement
Many Democrats and Republicans disagree with Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar on Israel, but some of these same lawmakers came to their defense after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred the women from visiting.
The move would reverse an earlier decision to allow them to enter the country on a congressional trip that would have covered both Israel and the West Bank.
Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, had said in July: “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”
But this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked cabinet ministers to consider whether the decision should be revisited.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Thursday not to allow the duo to enter the country for the visit, which was due to begin on Saturday, Channel 12 journalist Dana Weiss reported, adding that an official statement was due later on Thursday afternoon.
Under Israeli law, the authorities can deny entry to individuals who support boycott movements, although according to Haaretz the Foreign Ministry can request waivers for political or diplomatic figures whose refusal could harm Israeli foreign relations.
Israeli authorities delayed making the decision to bar the U.S. congresswomen while they worked through the logistical and security problems their visit could cause. In the end they decided the risks were just not worth it.
With legislative elections scheduled for next month, the last thing Israel needs is to give these two Islamic mouthpieces a soapbox from which to spew their hatred.
Donald Trump who has had to deal with the fallout from their rhetoric, largely due to the manner in which the dishonest U.S. media excuses Omar and Tlaib’s anti-Semitic diatribes, tweeted his approval of the decision to ban the two hate-mongers.
Tlaib and Omar have said their criticisms of the Israeli government are based on policy differences and have repeatedly denied harboring any animus toward Jews or Israelis. Both have voiced their support for a boycott movement against Israel to oppose the treatment of Palestinians.
In a statement, Omar said the Israeli decision was not a surprise coming from 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.”
Trump aides have told the president to particularly focus on Omar and Tlaib because they are the most polarizing — and poll the worst — in the eyes of his campaign advisers.
Other U.S. officials worried that Trump’s opposition to their travel would backfire, one official said. Trump dismissed that advice, saying that Omar and Tlaib’s criticisms of Israel make them worthy targets.
But even some Republican critics of the congresswomen broke with Trump and Netanyahu.
“Denying them entry into #Israel is a mistake,” tweetedSen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “Being blocked is what they really hoped for all along in order to bolster their attacks against the Jewish state.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization that rarely criticizes the Israeli government, said the congresswomen should be allowed to visit.
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Author: Raymond Draper
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