Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib were barred from entering Israel on Thursday by government officials in direct alignment to and backing by Donald Trump, Newsweek reports.
The decision was also supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who sided with the country’s interior minister after he made the initial call to deny the legislators entry.
“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,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress.” He added that their trip “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”
Both women, who made history as the first two Muslim women elected to congress, have been the focus of much criticism after they condemned the treatment of Palestinian’s and the influence of AIPAC, the most influential pro-Israel organization in the United States. The legislators also back the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, a non-violent commitment to make Israel comply with the international law in its treatment of Palestinians.
Both have also been accused of being anti-semitic because of their outspokenness, which they have both vehemently denied. As we know, it is always loose ground for women of color to speak truth to power.
Rep. Omar tweeted a swift response to the puzzling decision, calling the move an apparent “affront.”
On Thursday AIPAC tweeted a surprising response, splitting with Trump and Netanyahu in condemnation of the congresswoman’s botched trip.
“We disagree with Reps. Omar And Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace with BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand,” the tweet read.
The treatment aligns with the tone Trump has continued to set over the past few weeks after his repeated attacks on Omar, Tlaib and two other minority congresswomen, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ayanna Pressley.