House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Israel on Thursday for its decision to deny entry to Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who were slated to travel to the Jewish state next week.
Pelosi also hit President Donald Trump for his support of the Israeli government’s move.
“As one who loves Israel, I am deeply saddened by the news that Israel has decided to prevent Members of Congress from entering the country,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” she added. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”
Earlier in the day, prior to the announcement of the decision, Trump tweeted, “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.”
“They are a disgrace!”
Following Israel’s announcement that Omar and Tlaib were not welcomed, the president wrote in apparent approval: “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!”
Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
Omar and Tlaib chose not to travel with a large congressional delegation that visited Israel last week, including areas governed by the Palestinian Authority.
Instead, they scheduled a separate visit for just the two of them to take place between Aug. 18-22, The Hill reported.
Among other stops, the congresswomen intended to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, known as Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, and the so-called West Bank.
“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 said in a statement posted on Facebook.
“Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress,” he added. “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.”
Netanyahu noted only a week ago his nation hosted 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, “who expressed bipartisan support for Israel.”
Omar and Tlaib’s fellow “squad” members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts rallied to their defense.
“Netanyahu choosing to ban the only 2 Muslim women in Congress from entering tells the US that only *some* Americans are welcome to Israel, not all,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“Trump is exporting his bigotry & making matters worse,” she added.
MoC are frequently asked to visit Israel to “see things for ourselves.”
But Netanyahu choosing to ban the only 2 Muslim women in Congress from entering tells the US that only *some* Americans are welcome to Israel, not all.
Trump is exporting his bigotry &making matters worse. https://t.co/PFdMDxuIfJ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 15, 2019
Pressley tweeted, “I’m calling this like I see it: bigoted, short sighted and cruel. Any leader committed to advancing democracy would welcome with open arms two democratically elected United States Congresswomen.”
“And every single member of Congress should be calling this out,” she continued.
I’m calling this like I see it: bigoted, short sighted and cruel. Any leader committed to advancing democracy would welcome with open arms two democratically elected United States Congresswomen. And every single member of Congress should be calling this out. https://t.co/Ydn3KQLofn
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 15, 2019
In March, the Democrat-controlled House passed a resolution condemning “anti-Semitism” (and other forms of hatred and bigotry) following controversial statements by Omar, including a tweet in which she suggesting Israel enjoys strong support in Congress because it pays off lawmakers.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” the freshman congresswoman wrote in a since-deleted tweet referencing $100 bills.
Omar also stirred controversy around the same time when she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
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