Netanyahu: Omar, Tlaib's 'Sole Objective' for Trip Was to 'Harm Israel'

Tlaib and Omar denied entry to Israel earlier on Thursday

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) / Getty Images
August 15, 2019

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the "sole objective" for Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) trip to Israel was to deny the country's legitimacy in a lengthy Twitter thread explaining the decision to deny them entry into the country.

"Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy," the prime minister's official account tweeted. "For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition."

He later added that "the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it," and pointed out that there trip was funded by the Palestinian organization Miftah, "an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel."

The prime minister expressed his respect for the United States and its elected members.

"No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel. As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country," Netanyahu tweeted.

The prime minister noted that the Minister of the Interior would consider a humanitarian request by Tlaib to visit her relatives "on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit."

Omar and Tlaib were supposed to arrive in Jerusalem this weekend, before traveling to the West Bank. Both have a history of anti-Semitism.

In 2012, Omar claimed Israel "has hypnotized the world" and called on "Allah [to] awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel." She has also claimed pro-Israel politicians are paid off and influenced by AIPAC to support Israel.

Tlaib has ties to Abbas Hamideh, an activist who has called Israel a "terrorist entity." Tlaib has also criticized Israeli policies as "racist" and dehumanizing.