Omar and Tlaib, critics of Netanyahu’s government, supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and also the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress, were set to visit Israel from August 18 to August 21 until Trump’s Thursday morning comments on Twitter.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
Not even three hours later, Trump tweeted another attack at the two Muslim congresswomen.
“Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!” reiterated the US leader.
In response, Omar issued a statement slamming Netanyahu, saying that he “has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”
Similarly, Tlaib tweeted that Israel’s decision to bar her from entering the country “is a sign of weakness [because] the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”
Though there was some back-and-forth between the Israeli prime minister’s office and the foreign ministry concerning who actually issued the ban, Netanyahu ultimately said in a Thursday release that he stands by the ministry’s decision and pushed back against the idea that denying the lawmakers entry would hinder US-Israeli relations.
Miko Peled, journalist and author of “The General’s Son - A Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five,” told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Thursday that whether Israel obeys Trump or not, the exposure of the Israeli government’s regime will happen all the same.
“I’d be shocked if [Netanyahu] actually refuses them entry, because they are important members of the Democratic Party … members of the House of Representatives,” Peled told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. “It would be absolutely insane for an Israeli government to deny them entry.”
He went on to admit, however, that the “political pressure” of whether or not to deny Omar and Tlaib access to the country is “so high” that they will probably have specific restrictions tied to their visits.
“I think the Israeli government is under a lot of pressure to let them in. Probably more pressure to let them in than to not let them in, both internally and from … the Democratic Party and Jews in the United States, who are far more liberal than, of course, Netanyahu,” the journalist explained.
“Either way, I think it’s a win,” Peled continued. “For the Palestinian cause, for the cause of justice, for the cause of exposing the very dark apartheid regime - it’s a win.”
The journalist pointed out that to deny the congresswomen entry would draw attention to the Israeli government’s need to hide something, but if the two were granted access to Israel, then they could expose the “dark apartheid regime” from the inside.
As someone banned from Israel, I guess I'm in really good company today— Ariel Gold🔥☮️ אריאל (@ArielElyseGold) August 15, 2019
If the lawmakers are actually barred from entering Israel for their criticisms, they won’t be the first Americans: in January 2018, Tel Aviv blacklisted 20 US organizations that support the BDS movement, including the American Friends Service Committee and Code Pink: Women for Peace.
Code Pink’s national co-director, Ariel Gold, told Sputnik in April 2018 that even though she is Jewish, she had been "detained and interrogated intermittently for about seven hours and then put back on a plane to JFK [Airport]” after trying to enter Israel.