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Netanyahu will bar Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel because of their BDS support

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Note: This post was updated after Israel’s decision was confirmed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bar Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from entering Israel over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle this is a very justified decision,”  Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely told the country’s public broadcaster.

This month, two congressional delegations arrived in Israel as part of an annual AIPAC-sponsored trip. Omar and Tlaib both declined to attend, but planned their own trip to Palestine, which was supposed to begin on August 17. Their decision attracted increased attention throughout the United States and Israel as it coincided with a national debate over an anti-BDS bill that was introduced in the House. That bill overwhelmingly passed, but Omar and Tlaib voted against it and Omar introduced her own bill to affirm that Americans have the right to boycott foreign countries.

Last month, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer declared that the congress members would be allowed to enter Israel. “Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” he said. On August 10, Axios reported that President Trump had told multiple advisers that Netanyahu should bar Omar and Tlaib over their support for BDS. Trump’s reaction reportedly came after Omar and Tlaib voted against the aforementioned anti-BDS resolution. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed that report as “fake news.” The report was also denied by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who said, “I do not know of the president being disappointed in that. I speak to the president daily.”

In response to the announcement, Bernie Sanders foreign policy advisor Matt Duss tweeted, “Every Democrat who helped pretend that BDS is a threat requiring Congressional condemnation owns a piece of this.”

Former State Department Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller tweeted, “In barring Omar and Tlaib Netanyahu in a single act creates more publicity and political oxygen than any visit might have; makes an Israeli PM appear to be a tool of a US President; blackens Israel’s image; and erodes bipartisanship critical to US-Israeli relations.”

Hadash party head Ayman Odeh tweeted, “Israel has always banned Palestinians from their land and separated us from other Palestinians, but this time the Palestinian is a U.S congresswomen Rashida Tlaib didn’t even have to land to expose the true face of Israel’s occupation.”

A source has also told the Washington Post that Tlaib (who is the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress) might be allowed to visit her family in the West Bank if she requests permission for a special humanitarian visit.

Michael Arria

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

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6 Responses

  1. Marnie on August 15, 2019, 12:10 pm

    I’m relieved. I’ve been so scared for both of them coming here and with the increasing ferocity of #45s tweet regarding this trip, was increasingly worried for their safety here and if they would be barred from reentry to the united states (weird, but anything goes in #45s amerikkka), and thinking 45 would dare anyone to kill them. His incitement knows no bounds.

  2. lobewyper on August 15, 2019, 12:25 pm

    If the rest of the House of Representatives has any guts/integrity, they will now also refuse the Israel trip in solidarity with Omar and Tlaib. Let’s see if anyone steps up. This whole deal is going to call an immense amount of attention to the brutal treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories- attention most unwelcome to Netanyahu and his apologists.

  3. Kay24 on August 15, 2019, 4:05 pm

    At least some Congress people have criticized Israel for this, and surprisingly AIPAC too. The only good thing at this point is, the media is discussing this move by Israel very extensively, some pointing out that Israel is supposedly the only democracy in that region, and that being the closest ally from over there, and the recipient of the most amount of US aid, it is not acceptable. This is the first time members of the Congress have been banned from coming in to Israel , and Netanyahu is going to feel some heat, deservedly so.
    This may be Netanyahu’s way of repaying Trump for giving Bibi Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, and helping Bibi look good during the Israeli elections.

    • Marnie on August 15, 2019, 11:28 pm

      @Kay 24 – You betcha. Criminals have to stick together. Maybe netanyahoo and #45 can run off to Greenland together. Bastards. At any rate, in a normal world I think this would be an international public relations disaster but this world is far from normal. However, it doesn’t look good, being the ‘only democracy in the middle east’ and all. However, it’s incredible how quickly the rest of the world recovers it’s feigned shock and awe shucks at every shit move made by #45 and netanyahooooo.

  4. Peter in SF on August 16, 2019, 6:56 am

    In barring Omar and Tlaib Netanyahu in a single act creates more publicity and political oxygen than any visit might have; makes an Israeli PM appear to be a tool of a US President; blackens Israel’s image; and erodes bipartisanship critical to US-Israeli relations

    — Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) August 15, 2019

    Was this guy employed for decades as a public servant by the US government or by the Israeli government?

  5. Ronald Johnson on August 16, 2019, 9:36 am

    President Trump, in his honest simplicity, portrays the concept of projection. Those who hate the hated rely on the presumption that the hated – have hated back, from the beginning. Thereby to play a game of “who hated first and who is hated the most”. The most convincing player collects a reward for victimhood.

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