The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Thursday came out against Israel’s decision to block far-left freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from visiting the Jewish state over their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand,” AIPAC tweeted in response to the development.
We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) August 15, 2019
Earlier Thursday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely broke the news that the country will deny entry to the country ahead of their planned visit on Sunday,
“Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” she told Israeli public radio, according to the Times of Israel.
“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,” she added.
The announcement came shortly after a Channel 12 report saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was carefully considering a proposal to bar Omar and Tlaib. In a statement, Netanyahu said the pair’s visit to Israel was a naked attempt to delegitimize the country.
“As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: 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,” Netanyahu said.
In 2017, Israel enacted a law that prohibits a foreigner entry who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.” The Interior and Strategic Affairs ministries have used the rule to deny anti-Israel activists entry to the country.
Breitbart News Jerusalem bureau head Aaron Klein reports that the lawmakers’ trip was partially organized by a “notorious Palestinian extremist”:
The cancelled visit was partially organized and co-sponsored by Miftah, an anti-Israel organization headed by HananAshrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee and supporter of BDS.
Ashrawi claimed the trip was supposed to be a way for Omar and Tlaib “to engage with the Palestinian people directly and to see things on the ground.”
NGO Monitor, a watchdog on extremist nonprofits, notes that Miftah has accused Israel of committing “massacres,” “apartheid,” “summary executions” of Palestinian youth and “Judaizing” Jerusalem. It has also accused Israel of “ethnic-cleansing of Palestinian-Israeli Arabs.”
Ashrawi was a political leader of the violent First Palestinian Intifada and served as deputy to late PLO leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. She is known for espousing anti-Israel conspiracy theories and attempting to justify Palestinian “resistance” against the Jewish state.
Ahead of Israel’s decision, President Donald Trump called on the Jewish state to bar the lawmakers, tweeting: “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!”
In July, Omar and Tlaib voted against a House of Representatives resolution that overwhelmingly passed in the chamber that reject the BDS campaign attacking Israel. Instead, Omar introduced a measure countering the anti-BDS resolution which affirms Americans’ right to participate in boycotts. Tlaib and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) are co-sponsors of the bill.