The Israeli government has just decided to bar House Reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country. Two of Israel’s sharpest critics, the two women had been planning to visit the West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to The Jerusalem Post, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Arden made the decision.
“The State of Israel respects the US Congress, as part of the close alliance, but it is inconceivable that anyone who wishes to harm the State of Israel will be allowed, even during the visit,” the press statement said. Israel Katz said that he supports the ban “due to their blatant support for the boycott of the State of Israel, terrorism against Israel and minimizing the Holocaust.
President Trump tweeted that it would show “great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Donald Trump’s statements are a sign of “ignorance and disrespect.”
“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”
Omar and Tlaib are supporters of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which tries to put economic pressure on Israel to grant equal rights to Arab-Palestinians and to withdraw from occupied territories in the West Bank. The Huffington Post reports that “under Israeli law, supporters of the movement can be denied entry to the country.”
A former U.S. Ambassador to Israel doesn’t like the decision.
Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, still has family living in the West Bank. Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Deri told The Washington Post that he would reconsider the decision if Tlaib wanted to hold a private meeting with her relatives.