At the urging of President Donald Trump, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that he would not permit U.S. lawmakers Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from entering Israel as previously planned. The American congresswomen, who are both Muslim, have been outspoken in their vehement loathing of Israel and its policies in regards to the Palestinian territories. For Trump and Netanyahu, the idea of them coming to Israeli soil to spread their ultra-left propaganda against Jews and Israel was a bridge too far.
“They are very anti-Jewish and they are very anti-Israel,” Trump told reporters. “I think it is disgraceful the things they have said. This isn’t a one-line mistake. What they have said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing and they’ve become the face of the Democrat Party.”
In a statement, Netanyahu said that while Israel was “open to critics and criticism,” he drew the line at lawmakers calling for an economic boycott of the state. Both Tlaib and Omar have supported the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement against Israel, which is meant to pressure the country to give up their so-called “occupation” of the Palestinian land.
“Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress,” Netanyahu said.
Their itinerary, he said, “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”
In remarks to a local news station, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said he supported Israel’s decision to bar Omar and Tlaib.
“They are duly elected members of Congress, I get that, but they are openly supporting the movement which would be an economic boycott of the state of Israel and basically destroy the state, so I understand both sides of the story here,” Graham said. “From my point of view, there have got to be consequences to your behavior. If you openly joined an international movement to destroy the state of Israel, then you’ll suffer the consequences.”
While Tlaib is doing more than her fair share of whining on Twitter, she did get one piece of good news: The Israeli Interior Department will permit her to come to the West Bank on a purely personal visit to see relatives she still has in the Palestinian territories. Frankly, when you consider the things that she and Omar have said (and are continuing to say) about Israel, that’s a bigger olive branch than she deserves.