Israel Bans Omar, Tlaib From Entering Country

Trump: Israel allowing the reps to enter would 'show great weakness'

Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar/ Getty Images
August 15, 2019

Israel is banning Democratic representatives Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) from entering the country, according to a spokesman for Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

Multiple Israeli media outlets previously reported the country was considering barring the congresswomen because of their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, but hadn't officially made a decision.

Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, said back in July that Tlaib and Omar would not be banned from entering the country. He said, "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."

However, Hotovely's spokesman confirmed Omar and Tlaib would be banned shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted about a possible ban Thursday morning.

"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," Trump tweeted. "Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!"

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to make a formal statement later Thursday about the ban.

Omar and Tlaib, who are both pro-Palestine, were scheduled to arrive this weekend in Jerusalem and then travel to the West Bank, visiting Bethlehem, Hebron, and Ramallah, sparking controversy because of the pair's history of anti-Semitic statements, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Omar has a long history of anti-Semitism, including a 2012 tweet saying, "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel." She also accused pro-Israel politicians earlier this year of being paid off, tweeting, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby" and blaming AIPAC for this influence.

Tlaib also has a history of anti-Semitism, including attending events with her top campaign fundraiser, Palestinian-American businessman Maher Abdel-qader, who has shared several anti-Semitic cartoons on Facebook. She also has ties to Abbas Hamideh, a "Palestinian right of return" activist with a history of calling Israel a "terrorist entity." He was invited to attend a swearing-in ceremony and private dinner for Tlaib back in January.

Last month, Tlaib claimed, "There is continued dehumanization and racist policies by the State of Israel that violate international human rights, but also violate my core values of who I am as an American."