Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who have both been accused of making antisemitic statements, are being barred from entering Israel over their support for an international movement aimed at marginalizing the majority Jewish country.
Tzipi Hotovely told Israel Radio in an interview on Aug. 15 that “Israel has decided not to allow” the Congresswomen into Israel, reported the Associated Press.
She cited a 2017 law allows Israel to bar any foreigner who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.”
An Isreali NGO filed documents in court recently as part of a push to get officials to prevent Omar and Tlaib from entering the Middle Eastern country.
It’s official: Israel will bar Congresswomen @RashidaTlaib and @IlhanMN from entering Israel due to “suspected provocations and promotion of BDS” at this time the final decision is been drafted and passed for comments before a press release. https://t.co/YikKaKe97g
— Dana Weiss (@danawt) August 15, 2019
Before Hotovely’s comments, the last official line on the visit came from Ron Dermer, Isreal’s ambassador to the United States.
“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,” Dermer said in a statement.
President Donald Trump seemed to champion the barring of his Democratic opponents, writing on Twitter: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”
Officials are still considering allowing the Americans to visit the territories held by the Palestinian authority, where some of Tlaib’s family members live, according to a report from Channel 12.
Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, was among those criticizing the move.
“Original Israeli decision to allow Tlaib/Omar visit was wise,” he wrote on Twitter. “Reversal makes little sense. I disagree with their stands on Israel, have criticized them. But zero harm in letting them come learn, see (even if they had an agenda). Reversal harms Israel’s standing in US, boosts BDS.”
Arthur Lenk, Israel’s former ambassador to South Africa, said in a statement barring Omar and Tlaib “would be sinking us deeper into U.S. domestic political quagmire.”
But some said there were legitimate reasons to bar the politicians from entering Israel, including George Mason law professor Eugene Kontorovich.
“Countries routinely deny visas to those with extremist views,” he wrote. “The US excludes people for ideologies fundamentally hostile to US (ie communism); the UK and others deny entry to public figures with bigoted views as being ‘not conducive to the public good.’ Omar/Tlaib qualify.”
Countries routinely deny visas to those with extremist views. The US excludes people for ideologies fundamentally hostile to US (ie communism); the UK and others deny entry to public figures with bigoted views as being “not conducive to the public good.” Omar/Tlaib qualify.
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) August 15, 2019
The House of Representatives passed a resolution in July condemning BDS: “The BDS Movement does not recognize, and many of its supporters explicitly deny, the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination.”
It also said, “The BDS Movement targets not only the Israeli government but also Israeli academic, cultural, and civil society institutions, as well as individual Israeli citizens of all political persuasions, religions, and ethnicities, and in some cases even Jews of other nationalities who support Israel.”
Omar, Tlaib, and fellow “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) were among 17 lawmakers opposing the resolution, versus the 398 who approved it. Tlaib said on the House floor that people have “the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel.”
Omar and Tlaib introduced a resolution in support of Americans boycotting companies and countries, arguing boycotts are protected by the First Amendment. Omar admitted it was meant to support BDS.
“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar told Al-Monitor. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
Omar, who switched her stance on BDS after getting elected, has repeatedly come under fire for making statements many found antisemitic, including claiming: “Israel has hypnotized the world.”
“May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” she wrote in a missive that she later deleted. After claiming earlier this year that some American politicians only support Israel for money, drawing criticism from top Democrats, she apologized.
From The Epoch Times