Israel bars U.S. lawmakers visit after Trump weighs in

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:56s

Israel bars U.S. lawmakers visit after Trump weighs in

Israel will bar a visit by U.S. Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump called on Israel not to let them in.

Jonah Green reports.


Israel bars U.S. lawmakers visit after Trump weighs in

U.S. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be barred from entering Israel in an upcoming visit.

The decision was announced by Israel's deputy foreign minister shortly after a tweet from President Trump Thursday urging Israel to not let in the elected representatives of his own country.

"It would show great weakness if Israel allowed" them to visit, Trump wrote, claiming "They hate Israel & all Jewish people." The congresswomen, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, have voiced their support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement… Under Israeli law, supporters of boycotts of the country, can be denied entry.

But just last month - Israel's ambassador in the U.S. said the representatives would be let in out of respect for Congress and the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

The two Democrats had planned to tour the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem this weekend.

President Donald Trump - a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - has repeatedly attacked both Tlaib and Omar and two other Democratic congresswomen of color, urging them to "go back" where they came from, even though Tlaib was born in the U.S. and Omar is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia.

Thursday's decision drew condemnation from the unlikeliest of places - AIPAC, the American pro-Israeli lobbying group, who stressed while they disagree with the congresswomen's position on BDS, "We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand." Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged Israeli official to reverse their decision, saying "It will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America," adding, "No democratic society should fear an open debate."

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