Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq. defended Israel’s decision on Thursday not to allow Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to visit Israel on a trip organized by a supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement.
“No nation should be required to admit persons – even if those persons are foreign government officials – if those persons pose a potential security risk, or seek to destroy or harm the host country, or are otherwise objectionable or inimical to the host country’s interests,” they wrote in a joint statement.
They listed three instances wherein the United States denied admission to foreign officials:
- “President of Austria and former Secretary General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim, when Waldheim’s past as a Nazi official came to light after he was elected Austria’s president in 1986.”
- “PLO Executive Committee member, propagandist and terror supporter Hanan Ashrawi (3 months ago).”
- “Co-founder and leader of the antisemitic anti-Israel international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to delegitimize and economically destroy Israel, Omar Barghouti (barred in April 2019) Barghouti expresses support for terrorism and openly calls for Israel’s destruction.”
They continued in the statement:
Israel is absolutely correct to bar admission of Israelophobic Jew-haters Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Tlaib and Omar seek Israel’s destruction, and are leading promoters of anti-Jewish anti-Israel BDS. They even outrageously compare boycotting Israel to boycotting Nazis – and introduced and co-sponsored introduced House Resolution 496 to promote BDS.
Omar’s financial backers include top anti-Israel BDS leaders and Hamas supporters. Tlaib’s associates include Hezbollah-backer and anti-Israel Al Awda head Abbas Hamideh. A study documented that Tlaib publicly praised 18 colleagues who are close associates of Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands, for helping Tlaib to win office. Omar even demanded that a judge should show compassion towards and reduce the sentences of convicted ISIS terrorists – and much more.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that there is no country that respects America and Congress more than Israel.
“Israel is open to all critics and any criticism, with one exception: The law in Israel that prohibits entry to people calling and advocating for boycotting the country, just like in other democracies that bar entry to those who they believe will do harm to their nation,” he said.
He said the U.S. “has behaved this way toward an Israeli member of Knesset and other public figures from around the world.”
Netanyahu also said the government reviewed their trip itinerary, which “clarified that they planned a visit whose sole purpose was to support boycotts and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also issued a statement in support of Netanyahu.
“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement against Israel is not free speech,” he said. “Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State.”
“Israel properly has enacted laws to bar entry of BDS activists under the circumstances present here, and it has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons,” he added.
Tlaib responded to the move on Twitter: “.@AGvaryahu I was looking forward to it & can’t thank you enough for being on the right side of history. As an American who grew up embracing justice & equality, I appreciate your courage & hope that one day my Congressional colleagues are given the opportunity to hear you.”
.@AGvaryahu I was looking forward to it & can't thank you enough for being on the right side of history. As an American who grew up embracing justice & equality, I appreciate your courage & hope that one day my Congressional colleagues are given the opportunity to hear you. https://t.co/wbboQEUHge
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 15, 2019
Omar blamed the move on pressure from Trump:
It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/v00ESmehXT
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) August 15, 2019
Trump had tweeted earlier in the day that it would show “great weakness” if Israel allowed them to visit. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds”:
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
Later in the day, he tweeted:
Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
As Breitbart News’s Aaron Klein previously reported, Omar and Tlaib are both prominent BDS supporters who last month introduced a resolution in Congress aimed at supporting the antisemitic BDS Movement, which targets the Middle East’s only democracy and is engaged in economic warfare against Israel.
The cancelled visit was partially organized and co-sponsored by Miftah, an anti-Israel organization headed by Hanan Ashrawi, 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.”