Israel will not grant two controversial Democratic lawmakers who voiced support for the anti-Israel motion on a scheduled journey next week to visit the nation.
Following Israeli media reports, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) had chosen to bar Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel.
The ministry revealed Thursday that the two would be banned from entering Israel, citing the anti-BDS law of 2017.
“The decision was made based on the opinion of the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, after Minister Deri noted that the matter involved supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, who are prohibited from entering the country, according to the law regarding entry into Israel,” the Interior Minister’s office said in a statement Thursday.
“These are people who use the most influential platform in the world to express support for BDS organizations which call for the boycotting of Israel. The State of Israel respects the American Congress, as part of the close alliance between our two countries, but we cannot permit people into the country who seek to hurt the State of Israel.”
“We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle this is a very justified decision,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) told Kan.
The decision was officially announced soon after President Donald Trump published a remark to Twitter urging Israel not to allow the two lawmakers in, citing that the two “hate Israel and all Jews.”
“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
Under the law, the Interior Ministry may bar entry to individuals who have publicly expressed support for the BDS movement against Israel.
Both Omar and Tlaib, first-term Democrats who have sparked controversy for their comments on Israel which some have deemed anti-Semitic, have backed the BDS movement.
Tlaib and Omar had scheduled a trip to the Israeli security fence in Judea and Samaria, as well as a visit to Bethlehem, Hevron and Ramallah, accompanied by senior officials of the Palestinian Authority.
Miftah, a pro-Palestinian NGO co-founded by PA negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, scheduled the journey. Omar and Tlaib were planned to land on Sunday in Israel. But unfortunately it won’t be possible again.
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