Israeli government said Thursday it would bar two Democratic congresswomen who support the Palestinian-led boycott movement from entering the country, a move that drew swift rebukes from Democratic leaders in Congress as well as the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country’s interior minister had decided to deny entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who were scheduled to visit next week. He said he supported the decision.
“As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress.” —CBS NEWS
The move comes after President Trump publicly urged the Israeli leader on Twitter to block Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., saying it would be showing “weakness” if they were allowed to visit.
“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!” 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi also blasted President Trump’s tweet advising Israel to deny the congresswomen entry.
“The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President,” she said.
Netanyahu noted that Israel welcomed all visitors with one exception – an Israeli law passed in 2017 that instructs the Israeli Interior Minister to ban foreign nationals who publicly support movements to boycott Israel.