The Trump White House isn’t giving an inch.
Days after Israel barred radical Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from visiting the country, the Democrats’ colleagues in Congress are reportedly considering retaliation against the Jewish state.
But the Trump administration is already slapping back.
“Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have a well-documented history of anti-Semitic comments, anti-Semitic social media posts and anti-Semitic relationships,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement on Monday, according to Fox News.
“Israel has the right to prevent people who want to destroy it from entering the country – and Democrats’ pointless congressional inquiries here in America cannot change the laws Israel has passed to protect itself.”
At issue was a law Israel enacted two years ago that allowed it to ban any supporter of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, known as BDS, which aims to isolate Israel culturally and economically.
Tlaib and Omar are both unapologetic supporters of the BDS movement.
Israel cited that law on Thursday when it announced the two congresswomen would not be allowed into the country for a visit that was supposed to start on Saturday. The decision came after President Donald Trump tweeted his own opposition to Israel allowing the visit, saying it would be a “sign of weakness.”
On Friday, Israel relented to offer Tlaib a chance to visit if she agreed “not to advance boycotts against Israel during her visit.”
That might seem reasonable to normal people, but to leftists, it was unacceptable. Tlaib turned down the opportunity.
Her party comrades on Capitol Hill have been no more reasonable.
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a news release that called the Israeli decision itself a “sign of weakness.”
“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 wrote. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”
Now, according to a McClatchy report from Saturday, congressional Democrats are considering seeking an investigation by the State Department’s inspector general into the actions of David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel.
The probe would look into “the role the ambassador played in barring them from entering the country,” a congressional Democratic source told McClatchy.
Democrats are also considering ways to convey a “deep lack of confidence and trust” in Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, McClatchy reported.
It’s unclear what such moves could be expected to accomplish beyond fanning the flames of an utterly unnecessary controversy even further.
By its own laws, Israel was well within its rights to keep out the two Democrats, whose visit was unlikely to produce anything beyond ever more inflammatory rhetoric about the BDS movement and Israel’s relations with Palestinians.
Any attempt by congressional Democrats to bully Israel is unlikely to be seen approvingly by the vast majority of Americans, who’ve known for years that when it comes to the Middle East, the United States has only one real alliance — and that’s with Israel.
Trump understands that alliance too. And Gidley’s statement on Monday proved, when it comes to standing up for Israel and its rights as a sovereign nation, the Trump White House isn’t giving an inch.
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