Bernie Sanders says it’s a sign of enormous disrespect.
In a stunning move that is reverberating throughout the international community, Israel has banned Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from entering the country. This comes on the heels of pressure from President Trump, who claims that the Congresswomen “hate Israel,” along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said they seek “to damage Israel.”
Netanyahu released a statement about the issue, where he laid out the reasoning for denying the women entry to the country: “The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel.”
There have been many who have spoken out against the ban on the Congresswomen, starting with the representatives themselves. Rep. Omar stated, “It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.” Given Rep. Omar’s position as a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it’s clear that Omar was a target because of her powers of oversight on foreign aid. Omar went on to say that this is another extension of the Muslim ban that President Trump attempted to implement in the United States.
Others have come out in support of the Representatives as well including Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom have commented on the ban.
Banning Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel and Palestine is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy. The Israeli government should reverse this decision and allow them in. https://t.co/mvdcmnFBKU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 15, 2019
Israel doesn't advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views. This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 15, 2019
There is an additional wrinkle to the story as well. Notably, Rep. Tlaib has Palestinian family members in the West Bank region, that Israel presently occupies. This means she is not able to visit her family, attend funerals, or go to weddings without filling out a special humanitarian request.
Pathetic man with no spine! So the Trump racist tweets now Israel Blocks visits by reps Omar and Tlaib. Hope you own this just like the rest of the GOP own your racism
— michele Trog (@TrogMichele) August 15, 2019
On Monday, the Representatives spoke together in their first televised remarks together.
Originally, the two were scheduled to visit Israel beginning on August 16, but that trip has since been cancelled. It is unknown if any steps towards reconciliation are going to be taken, but the fact that sitting members of Congress are being banned from a country, with the support of the President, is troubling. Yet, there are reports the two would be allowed to visit in the future, but only in the Palestinian-controlled areas.