Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., listens as Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, during a hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
This morning, news broke that Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib were being barred from entry into Israel. This has set off a firestorm on the left, who after years of cheering on cities and countries telling Trump he’s not welcome, have suddenly decided it’s deeply wrong to bar political figures from entry.
To those complaining, security in Israel is simply a game where only appearances and news headlines matter In reality, it’s much more serious than that. Any provocation can lead to violence and people dying. Is that worth letting a couple of anti-Israel, pro-BDS Americans walk around for photo-ops to push propaganda for Palestinian terrorists?
The answer is no, it’s not worth it. Omar and Tlaib have had an opportunity to show a level head when it comes to Israel and they’ve instead pushed a movement that seeks the destruction of the Jewish state while delving in their own frequent anti-Semitism. Am I really supposed to be mad at the Israelis for not wanting to host them? The United States doesn’t grant visas to people who seek the overthrow of our government and Israel shouldn’t be expected to do so just because these two women happen to be members of the US Congress.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu defended his decision this morning.
As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country. In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member ofKnesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.
Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.
A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.
However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.
In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.
Netanyahu is exactly correct. Their planned trip was nothing but a propaganda stunt meant to stir up further resentment against Israel. They didn’t even have enough respect to refer to Israel by name, instead saying they were visiting Palestine (which doesn’t exist).
The trip was being paid for by Miftah, which is an anti-Israel organization whose members have supported terrorism in the past. You’d think two Congressional members being hosted by such a group would make our media uneasy, but they apparently think it’s fine.
Part of the concern over the visit was a possible visit to the Temple Mount with Palestinian authorities. This would have been a disaster because either Israel allows it and legitimizes a terrorist government’s claim over the site, or they bar them from the site and violence inevitably erupts from the Palestinians.
This is the kind of game playing Omar and Tlaib were obviously seeking and Israel was 100% right to shut their trip down. I hope the pressure doesn’t cause an about-face here from Israel. They owe these women nothing.
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