WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Israel has blocked Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)’s supposed visit to the country following their past remarks against the territory.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his country’s decision by pointing out that the two congresswomen ‘are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in the U.S. Congress.’
- While the connection is unclear, Israel’s decision was announced mere moments after President Donald Trump tweeted that Israel would show ‘great weakness’ if they granted the pair entry.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his country’s decision to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from entering the country following their past remarks against the territory.
Netanyahu issued his statement on Thursday via his official Facebook page, which read: “As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: Israel’s law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel, as is the case with other democracies that prevent the entry of people whose perception harms the country.”
He continued, “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in the U.S. Congress. The two-member congressional visitation plan shows that their intent is to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it.”
The prime minister also pointed out that the two congresswomen referred to their visit destination as Palestine instead of Israel.
Netanyahu stated, however, that Tlaib may be allowed entry for a visit to her Palestinian grandmother in the West Bank — “subject to a commitment that she would not act to promote the boycotts against Israel, the interior minister announced he would consider this request.”
The decision was announced mere moments after President Donald Trump tweeted that Israel would show “great weakness” if they granted the pair entry.
It’s unclear, however, if it was Trump’s tweet that prompted the Israeli government’s decision.
Tlaib and Omar were the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. The two have also been very vocal in their fight for Palestinian rights, backing the movement to boycott Israel. When a bill was started in opposition of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement in July, the two were among the 16 Democrats who voted against it. The legislation was ultimately passed.
Netanyahu had praised the bill’s passage, saying “it is right and it is helpful.”
The BDS movement aimed to pressure Israel on human rights issues involving its conflict with Palestinians.
Tlaib and Omar’s visit was scheduled between Aug. 18-22. They had planned to visit the site in Jerusalem known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (also known as the Temple Mount to Jewish people).
Despite Trump’s recommendation, both parties condemned Israel’s decision to deny entry to the freshmen congresswomen.
Source: The Hill