Tlaib Would Rather Bash Israel Than Visit Grandma
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Aug 16, 2019,
Aug 16, 2019, 18:34
The move to bar Reps.
Trump, who has a close relationship with Netanyahu, has repeatedly attacked both Tlaib and Omar, telling them last month to "go back" to the countries they came from.
Trump has criticized the two lawmakers - who are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress - in harsh and sometimes racist terms. Tlaib's parents immigrated to the United States from the West Bank.
Netanyahu said Tlaib and Omar were leaders in promoting boycott legislation and their itinerary "revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel's legitimacy".
Omar denounced the decision as "an affront" and "an insult to democratic values".
Israel's announcement came Thursday shortly after President Trump lobbied on Twitter for the ban.
"They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds", Trump said. Democrats and some Republicans got steamed over the rebuke to two members of Congress, and especially its last-minute, publicity-generating nature.
Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories. "We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand".
Top ranking Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of NY said it was a sign of weakness instead of strength and "will only hurt the U.S".
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called the Vermont senator's statement "a big deal".
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Netanyahu justified this shameful decision by citing a recent bit of daft legislating, an Israeli law prohibiting foreign nationals who back boycotts against Israel or its West Bank settlements from entering the country.
"The decision to prevent the admittance of the congresswomen [Tlaib and Omar] was just and proper after it clearly emerged from their planned schedule that the objective of the visit prepared for them was to continue supporting and promoting the boycott of Israel", Erdan wrote on Twitter, after Tlaib's letter to Deri became public.
Both Omar and Tlaib have been critical of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and treatment of Palestinians.
The boycott movement, formally known as the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, aims to end global support for Israel because of its policies towards Palestinians, as well as its continued construction of West Bank settlements, considered a violation of worldwide law.
"Any sitting member of Congress should be welcome to visit Israel as official representatives of Israel's closest ally and most critical source of worldwide support", said the Israel Policy Forum, a New York-based Jewish organization.
"The itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole goal of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it", Netanyahu said in the statement. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek these territories for a future state.
On Thursday, Tlaib called Israel's decision to bar her from visiting the country with a congressional delegation next week a "sign of weakness" in a tweet.
The House last month overwhelming passed a resolution opposing the boycott, divestiture and sanctions movement and supporting a two-state solution.
Israel Hayom reported Wednesday that Omar and Tlaib would arrive in Israel on Friday afternoon, sparking concern that they would use the official visit to launch a public relations campaign against Israel. Tlaib was born in MI, and Omar was born in Somalia. The two are members of the so-called "Squad" of newly-elected left-wing Democrats, along with Reps.
The government later opened the door to a "humanitarian visit" to allow Tlaib to visit with family, which would have banned her from the original trip schedule outside of family visits. "And when Israel shuts out members of Congress, they too are making a mistake". "By refusing them entry, it will only fuel the very things that Israel claims to be unhappy about" when it comes to calls for boycotts.
Deri said it was "unacceptable" for those "who wish to harm the state of Israel" to be allowed in the country.