In an unprecedented move that is likely to reverberate through the halls of the US Congress, Israel has blocked Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country ahead of a planned trip set to start this weekend.
Israel’s decision to bar the two sitting members of the US congress is grounded in a 2017 law that blocks anyone who has publicly expressed support for a boycott of Israel from entering the country, at the government’s discretion.
Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, both of whom are Muslims have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. Tlaib necessary, charging that their “sole purpose is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it”Tlaib and Omar have also been the target of repeated attacks by President Donald Trump in recent months, including a series of racist tweets on July 14 in which he said they should “go back” to the “broken” countries they came from. Both are U.S. citizens and Tlaib was born in the United States.
The two are members of the so-called “Squad” of newly-elected left-wing Democrats, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Top ranking Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York said Israel’s action was a sign of weakness instead of strength — the reverse of Trump’s judgment — and “will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America.”