“The decision has been made [and] the decision is not to allow them to enter,” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said on Israel’s Reshet Radio.
The move comes ahead of a planned trip to the West Bank by Omar and Tlaib, who have been vocal critics of Israel and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, aims to use economic pressure to push the nation for large-scale changes in its policies related to Palestinians. Their stance has drawn the ire of Trump, who has repeatedly smeared Omar and Tlaib as anti-Semitic, claiming they “hate Jews.”
Axios reported earlier this week that Trump had privately been trying to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deny entry to the congresswomen ahead of their planned trip. He did so publicly hours before the decision was made. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit,” the president tweeted. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
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. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
Omar responded with a statement Thursday afternoon.
“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress,” she wrote. “Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories. Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realists of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamaphobes like Donald Trump.”
Trump’s push to block U.S. citizens from entering a foreign nation is a wildly anti-Democratic action from the president of the United States, but as with the rest of the president’s wildly anti-Democratic actions, his administration quickly fell in line. Shortly after the decision was announced, David M. Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, issued a statement endorsing the action. “The United States supports and respects the decision of the Government of Israel to deny entry to the Tlaib/Omar Delegation,” he wrote, adding that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported by Tlaib and Omar was “designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State.”
Please read my attached statement with regard to the decision of the Government of Israel to deny entry to BDS activists, Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, in accordance with its national laws. pic.twitter.com/q9M2N1uRkr
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) August 15, 2019
In a statement explaining the move, Netanyahu wrote that “the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it,” citing their support of the BDS movement. “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress,” he wrote on Facebook. “Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”
On Thursday afternoon, Trump tweeted again about Omar and Tlaib, two members of Congress who are now prohibited from entering Israel, one of America’s closest allies. “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party,” he wrote, “and they HATE Israel!”