WASHINGTON: Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are not welcome in Israel. The congresswomen were seeking to tour the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the country’s deputy foreign minister. The decision to bar entry was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan.
“The State of Israel respects the US Congress, as part of the close alliance, but it is inconceivable that anyone who wishes to harm the State of Israel will be allowed, even during the visit,” the press statement said.
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were first expected to land in Israel on Sunday, according to the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom. Israel Hayom indicates that Palestinian-American lawyer Tlaib and her colleagues, in an effort “mislead Israeli authorities,” took steps to advance their trip to arrive on Friday.
Their trip was to include the holy compound in Jerusalem that houses al-Aqsa mosque. This site is revered by Jews as the site of two biblical Jewish temples became a flashpoint for the trip. The site is in an area of Jerusalem that Israel captured along with the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war.
The itinerary did not include any known intention to meet with Israeli officials. According to one tweet, the Congresswomen’s itinerary fails to mention Israel at all:
According to their own itinerary, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib chose to refer to Israel as “Palestine”.
Their trip there was little more than a self-indulgent ploy to delegitimize and malign the Jewish State from within its borders. pic.twitter.com/yjDEUeMayo
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) August 15, 2019
Prime Minister Netanyahu also commented on the trips itinerary:
For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 15, 2019
Neither the trip or the itinerary’s goal was to foster any level of peace or understanding on the Israel – Palestine conflict. An organization run by Palestinian extremist and Israel boycott defender Hanan Ashrawi co-sponsored and organized the visit to Israel.
Omar and Tlaib Anti-Israel sentiments
Congressmen Talib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel (BDS) in the US Congress. After receiving their “visitation plan” PM Netanyahu says:
“It became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”
According to reports, the trio was planning to use the visit to embark on a harsh anti-Israel information campaign, Israel Hayom further reports. The congresswomen’s plans were to enter Israel in order to seek the Arab perspective in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Including time spent touring the security fence and meeting with Palestinian youth.
According to the itinerary, Tlaib and Omar, who both hold vocal anti-Israel positions, were planning to visit Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, and Ramallah.
Omar, accused of and condemned for making anti-Semitic tropes earlier this year. In February did apologize after Democratic leaders condemned remarks she made about the pro-Israel lobby and colleagues in the United States Congress.
As well as her anti-Semitic comments.
Tlaib’s goal in visiting the area is to strengthen the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Born in the United States, Tlaib draws her roots to the Palestinian village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa in the West Bank. Her grandmother and extended family live in the village. Netanyahu invited Tlaib on a family visit, but not a political reception.
BDS promotes boycotting the country over disputed territories, including the West Bank, and ongoing conflicts with Palestine. The ban was implemented despite Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer saying last week they would not bar any lawmakers from entering. However, Israel has blocked multiple lawmakers from coming in recent years. Only this time it is lawmakers from the United States who are being declared persona non grata.
- Fouad Ahmad Assadi, a Lebanon-born lawmaker for Spain’s ruling Socialist Party, was denied entry at Ben Gurion Airport
- Clémentine Autain of France was denied entry after saying her visit was to meet with Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti is a PLO commander serving multiple life sentences in Israel for the murder of dozens of people in terrorist attacks.
- The European Parliament’s Pascal Durand and Patrick Le Hyaric were denied entry due to the French lawmakers’ support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
- In 2018, a Ghanaian lawmaker, Ras Mubarak, who has called Israel a “rogue state,” said he was denied entry into it.
The congresswomen could possibly enter Palestine via Jordan, though it would require access via an Israeli checkpoint.
Omar said in a statement it was an “affront” that they would not be able to enter the country, adding that, with her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, it’s “both an insult to Democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”
“Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis but also to enter the Palestinian territories,” Omar added.
As past behavior predicts futures results, President Trump feels Netanyahu should not let the Congresswomen into the country. One cannot doubt that once in the Middle East, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic language against the US’ strongest ally in the region, would be embarrassing to the US. When Congress travels on official business, as this trip would be, they are representing America.
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
The friends of Pro-Islam Anti-Semitism creeping into the US Congress
Neither Omar or Tlaib have any interest in guiding leadership in Palestine toward a two-state solution. Tlaib is a strong supporter of Linda Sarsour, an anti-America, anti-Israel, pro-Islam activist. Sarsour recently claimed that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian. This despite the fact that Palestine did not exist at the time of Christ’s birth.
Or that the New Testament clearly claims that Jesus was a practicing Jew up to, and after, his death.
Mentions of Judea in the New Testament: 48
Mentions of Palestine in the New Testament: 0
Which makes sense, because the name “Palestine” was only applied to the region by the Romans in 135 CE.
Try cracking a history book, Linda. It’ll blow your mind. https://t.co/1IeDrsbG4e
— AJC (@AJCGlobal) July 7, 2019
Omar compares Israel to Iran saying:
“When Israel passes a law that recognizes it as a Jewish state and does not recognize other religions that live there, and we still refer to it as Middle Eastern democracy, I almost laugh. These are the things we see in companies we visit as Iran.”
Omar is known to “chuckles” in her little girl voice when Israel is upheld as a democracy in the Middle East.
The quest to boycott Israel
Talib has repeatedly called on the media to stop any aid (BDS) to Israel. Tlaib has campaigned a number of other congressmen to support BDS. She points to the examples of boycotts against Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa as a justification for maintaining the individual right to boycott Israel.
“America boycotted Nazi Germany in response to oppression and inhumanity and Jewish genocide,” Talib said, “Our right to freedom of speech is threatened by Make this decision. It creates a dangerous precedent for trying to legitimize certain people’s free speech, and sends a message that the government will act against those who say things that are not in their minds.”
As to the congresswomen entering Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says:
“As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any critic and criticism, with one exception,” Netanyahu said. “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. “The same is true of the US towards an Israeli Knesset and other public figures in the world.”
Ilhan Omar and Talib’s visit would only be to foster support for the BDS movement and to demean Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Their presence in Israel and Palestine would only serve to embarrass the US and foment more tension in the region. Their goal is to bolster Palestinian terrorism and destroy Israel.
Does anyone really wonder why neither Netanyahu or Trump want these women taking over the news cycle for days? While they attempt to rewrite the history and future of the region.
And as one Twitter user concisely points out:
Dear Omar and Tlaib,
If you tell the world to boycott Israel..
and Israel boycotts you back..
Please do not act shocked! #ThursdayThoughts
— Amy Mek (@AmyMek) August 15, 2019