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Here’s how the Democratic presidential candidates reacted to Israel barring Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

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After it was announced on Thursday that Israel would bar Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from entering the country, Democratic presidential hopefuls took to Twitter to condemn the decision and the fact that President Trump lobbied for it. After the decision was announced Trump tweeted, “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!”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized Israel’s government over the decision, but did not mention Trump. However, she seemingly tweeted about the decision before it was confirmed and before the Trump administration pressure had been reported. “Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views,” she wrote, “This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow [Omar] and [Tlaib] entry.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Israel’s government on one of his Twitter accounts. “Banning Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel and Palestine is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy,” he wrote. “The Israeli government should reverse this decision and allow them in.”

On his other account he condemned Trump’s aforementioned tweet:

Former Vice President Joe Biden cited his longtime support for Israel in his response. “I have always been a stalwart supporter of Israel—a vital partner that shares our democratic values,” reads the tweet. “No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas—even ideas they strongly object to. And no leader of the free world should encourage them to do so.”

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker had a tweet targeting Trump but stopped short of criticizing Israel. “Trump’s constant attacks on Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib are no secret to Israeli leadership,” he wrote. “Reversing this decision would demonstrate they understand the dangerous nature of Trump’s racist rhetoric both here at home and around the world.”

California Senator Kamala Harris’ response also mainly focused on Trump: “I don’t believe any nation should deny entry to elected Members of Congress, period. It’s an affront to the United States. Open and engaged foreign relations are critical to advancing U.S. interests. Trump is playing politics as he weakens our global leadership.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee had strong words for Trump and Israel. “This is nothing more than state-sanctioned Islamophobia — and Donald Trump hurling racist attacks at his political enemies,” he tweeted. “Israel must allow Reps [Tlaib and Omar] to enter.”

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke did not mention Israel in his response and seemed to place all the blame on Trump: “President Trump, you show great weakness every single day—when you attack women of color, when you degrade the office of the president, and when you ask our allies to stoop to your level.”

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Israel to reverse the decision but also focused on Trump. She wrote, “It’s appalling that President Trump continues to attack two sitting Congresswomen and encouraged another country to deny U.S. officials entry. Trump’s behavior is unacceptable, dangerous, and un-American. Israel’s decision should be reversed immediately.”

Author and activist Marianne Williamson didn’t explicitly criticize Israel or Trump, but she made it clear that she would visit Israel and Palestine if elected:

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang placed the blame with Trump and accused him of damaging the United States’ relationship with Israel through his actions: “[Trump] cares more about riling his base against Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib than he cares about the U.S. – Israel Relationship. I hope Israel pushes back and reverses this decision.”

At the time of this piece being published South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had yet to acknowledge the move.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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8 Responses

  1. gamal on August 15, 2019, 4:55 pm

    ” It’s an affront to the United States”

    and yet the “United States” respects no one, pisses on the Taliban they kill in the Talibans own country, pose with smiles and thumbs up with bodies of those they have tortured to death in iraq..

    and you know obviously i am now going to offer America Abdul Basit Abdul Samad Surah al Balad translation not great but the qari is peerless ignore the brackets they detract.

    https://youtu.be/w1Cz66Z6mE4

  2. RobertHenryEller on August 15, 2019, 6:23 pm

    Who do these people think they’re fooling? Israel barring Omar and Tlaib is completely consistent with Israel/AIPAC pushing, and the vast majority of Democrat and Republican legislators voting for, oath-of-office violating, anti-First Amendment, un-Constitutional, anti-BDS legislation, criminalizing and penalizing U.S. citizens’ rights to criticize Israel. Would they pass such legislation criminalizing and penalizing Americans’ rights to criticize their own country? Their own government? Their own President? Not so sure anymore of the answers to those questions, are we? Nice these people finally find some scintilla of backbone and patriotism. But with the possible exceptions of Warren and Sanders, all of these people have been kissing Israel’s and AIPAC’s asses forever. And they’ve gotten what they deserve in return: Getting slapped in the face by our arrogant, spoiled like “ally.” Trump is just the predictable little errand boy for the Adelson’s who bought their own personal middle east policy in the 2016 election. Jared’s never been in charge of the “peace process,” the Adelsons have. So, what have we got now? One fake democracy, helping to destroy another semi-democracy. If the Israelis and the Russians were teaming up on the U.S., they couldn’t be more destructively effective.

  3. JWalters on August 15, 2019, 6:53 pm

    On the other hand, this is better than having Israel put the Congresswomen in jail and having them commit suicide like Jeffrey Epstein.

    Adelson puppet Trump is obviously doing as he’s told, despite all cowardly pretense to the contrary.

  4. tamarque on August 16, 2019, 9:05 am

    Wimpy. Why wasn’t Sanders quote used where he stated that Israel should not take our money (the billions they get from the US every year) if they cannot respect our elected officials. Now even with his softened language he came closest to calling out Israel’s hypocracy as well as the US subservience to that apartheid State.

    And why didn’t anyone attack the divisiveness of Israel allowing Tlaib to visit her grandmother in West Bank only upon genuflecting to Israel by promising to not promote BDS with her relationship with Omar.

    The call should have been that no Congresspeople should go at all if any of them could not. Makes me sick.

  5. Richard Baldwin Cook on August 16, 2019, 9:26 am

    Our Congress is responsible for the humiliation of members of Congress, who are denied entry into Israel.

    Three years ago Congress passed an extraordinary exception to visa requirements for Israelis, who wish to enter the United States.

    The US has a visa-exception arrangement like this with several countries but the no-visa-required privilege is typically, reciprocal.

    The visa exception arrangement Congress has made to accommodate Israelis is not reciprocal for U.S. citizens.

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