Israeli officials have decided to block U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the country as part of a planned visit, a reversal that comes amid pressure from President Trump and concerns about their support for Israel boycotts.
The country’s deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely announced the decision Thursday, despite prior assurances that the congresswomen would be allowed in.
“Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” Hotovely told public broadcaster Kan. “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.”
This is an excerpt from Fox News.
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 previous story is below.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is weighing the possibility of blocking an expected visit in the coming days by two pro-BDS congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), diplomatic officials said on Thursday.
According to the officials, Netanyahu met on Wednesday with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to discuss the issue.
“The possibility exists that Israel will not allow the visit in its current form,” the officials said. “Professional and legal teams from the government minister are continuing to study the materials. According to the law, the authority to do so is given to the interior minister.”
In 2017 the Knesset passed an anti-BDS law that blocks foreign BDS activists from gaining entry to Israel. The law, however, has only been implemented sporadically.
If a decision is made to block their entry, it would be a reversal of what Ambassador Ron Dermer said, just a month ago. “Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” he said.
Over the weekend Channel 13 reported that US President Donald Trump – who has waged a very public Twitter campaign against the congresswoman in an apparent attempt to cast their hard-left views as the face Democratic Party – was unhappy at Israel’s original decision not to bar them.
The Washington Post on Thursday reported that Israel informed congressional leaders on Wednesday that an announcement formally barring them from visiting would be made on Thursday. Such a move, however, is likely to lead to an outcry among Democrats and others who will argue that this sends exactly the wrong message about Israel’s democracy.
Both House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, who led 41 Democratic congressmen to Israel last week, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is currently here with 31 Republicans, have said that Israel should allow in the two congresswomen.
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