Trump says jump, Netanyahu asks ‘how high?’ Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib denied entry to Israel
|© Reuters / Nir Elias|
US lawmakers denied entry to Israel after WH pressure
Israel has barred US lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country over their support for BDS, which was no secret. The move comes just prior to their planned trip, after President Trump panned the initiative.
Though the two representatives had discussed an upcoming political visit to Israel in recent weeks, those plans have now been scrapped, with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announcing Thursday that the Democratic lawmakers’ support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement disqualified them from visiting.
“Israel has decided – we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” Hotovely told Israeli broadcaster Kan. “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.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netayanhu explained the decision by stating that Omar and Tlaib, who represent the states of Minnesota and Michigan respectively, seek to “harm” Israel.ALSO ON RT.COMWelcome to Trumpopolis: Israeli PM Netanyahu’s plan to name Golan town after Trump ridiculed online
While the exact cause of the sudden reversal is unclear – as neither Omar and Tlaib have been mum about their endorsement of the BDS movement, and Tel Aviv had previously appeared ready to allow the visit – pressure from the White House seems a likely culprit.
I want to tell you a secret: A month ago when Netanyahu decided to allow Omar and Tlaib into the country they alreadty supported BDS and he knew it back then. There is only one reason for Netanyahu’s backtracking today – the pressure from Donald Trump
Earlier on Thursday, President Trump tweeted that allowing the visit would “show great weakness,” arguing the lawmakers “hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”
“They are a disgrace!” he added.
Hotovely’s announcement kicked off a flurry of criticism – though, notably, a portion of the ire was directed toward President Trump over his meddling in the affair, prompting some to ask who’s really in charge in Tel Aviv.
Even the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) voiced disapproval, in a rare public critique of Israeli policy.
AIPAC virtually never publicly criticizes the Israeli government. Even a statement this mild is notable.
It’s increasingly looking like Trump and Israel overstepped here. https://twitter.com/AIPAC/status/1162039422847803394 …
We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.
Tel Aviv has introduced a spate of legislation targeting BDS supporters over the years. In 2017, the Knesset passed an amendment explicitly banning any foreigner who makes a “public call for boycotting Israel” from entering the country.
The BDS movement seeks to bring international pressure on Israel by organizing boycotts of the country’s exports, foreign divestment from Israeli companies, as well as trade sanctions – hoping to force Israel to end its decades-long occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and to respect the rights and autonomy of Palestinians.
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: August 15, 2019 at 06:07PM