Israel’s Ban on Ilhan and Tlaib is an Insult to US Congress and America

Israel’s Ban on Ilhan and Tlaib is an Insult to US Congress and America August 15, 2019

Israel’s unprecedented banning of the entry of two Democratic US congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar is a slap in the face of America in general, and the US congress in particular. This is even more remarkable as it followed the unprecedented move by a sitting American president when Donald Trump urged Israel to do so.

As recently as last month, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said Tlaib and Omar would be allowed to visit Israel “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

Trump had earlier urged Israel’s Natanyahu via Twitter-his favorite channel.

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. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!

What is really a disgrace is for an American president to urge a FOREGN country to ban the entry of US elected official!

Trump’s call to ban the only two Muslim US congresswomen is disgraceful, but not surprising at all. After all, this is the same man who would seek the help of a not-so-friendly country, Russia, to dig dirt on his political opponent, Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

One wonders whether the allegiance of the country’s president is to his own country and its elected officials , or a foreign country, even if that foreign country is considered an ally.

Trump wasn’t the only US official to support the ban. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the US “supports and respects” Israel’s decision to deny entry to Tlaib and Omar. “This trip, pure and simple, is nothing more than an effort to fuel the (boycott movement) engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support,” Friedman said in a statement released Thursday evening.

Once again, one would think that the job of an ambassador is to protect his/her own citizens and officials.

Israel’s excuse was that these two congresswomen are supporting BDS- Boycott, divest and sanctions movement against Israel’s racist policies and occupation of Palestinian territories.

Omar Ilhan shot back after hearing about the ban- in a tweet of her own.

It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government…. Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress….As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it is my job to conduct oversight of foreign aid from the United States of America and to legislate on human rights practices around the world. The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.

Many elected officials –Republicans and Democrats spoke against the ban.

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she was “deeply saddened by the news” and “prays that the Government of Israel will reverse” its denial. I think if it was another country banning the entry of her fellow congresswomen, she would have used stronger words than “deeply saddened” or “praying that…”. But that’s another story.

It is true that the two US congresswomen have been vocal critics of Israel- and more specifically, its policies in the Palestinian territories, the settlements and the overall (mis) treatment of Palestinians, depriving them of basic human rights. They strongly support the boycott movement and recently voted against a House resolution condemning the movement.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another congresswoman of color, who is also under fire from the commander-in-chief frequently, called for the US congress to stand in solidarity with Rashida Tlaib and Omar Ilhan.

Netanyahu’s discriminatory decision to ban members of Congress from Israel harms int’l diplomacy.

Visiting Israel & Palestine are key experiences towards a path to peace.

Sadly, I cannot move forward w scheduling any visits to Israel until all members of Congress are allowed.

Congressman Ro Khanna from California agreed with me when he appeared on CNN.

It’s an insult to the American people. ..It’s not about Representative.Tlaib. It’s not about Representative Omar. It’s about respecting the American people.

Is criticism of Israel, or supporting BDS anti-Semitism?

Please don’t tell Rashida and Ilhan that they are being anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel or supporting BDS. That is a tired tactic to shush anyone who speaks up against Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinians, including illegal settlements.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Jewish American himself, was even more direct and blunt during an interview with CNN’s Andersen Cooper on Thursday evening. He not only condemned the decision  but openly wondered why the US congress should continue to send billions of dollars in aid to Israel when that country is being hostile against his fellow congresswomen.

Perhaps he is inviting Trump to urge Israel to now ban his entry into Israel.

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