00:51 GMT08 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred her and another Muslim member of US Congress from entering Israel due to pressure from US President Donald Trump.

    "It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the US government", Omar said in a statement. "Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress".

    Earlier in the day, the Israeli government said Omar and US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib were barred from entering the country because of their support for a Palestinian-lead boycott movement. The two US lawmakers had planned to visit Israel next week. According to the US-based media, the two congresswomen had planned to meet with Palestinian and Jewish peace activists and human rights organizations.

    Israel's deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely has told local media that the decision was in line with a policy of denying entry to those who advocate for boycotts of Israel.

    Trump in a tweet on Thursday said Tel Aviv would show "great weakness" if Israel allowed the women to visit. "They hate Israel and all Jewish people and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds", Trump said.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s statement "ignorant" while US Congressman Ted Lieu slammed the US president for working with a foreign power to negatively affect members of the Congress.

    US Ambassador David Friedman in a statement on Thursday said the United States supports Israel’s decision because the American lawmakers planned on engaging in "economic warfare" by fueling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

    In July, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing the BDS movement, a cause which targets Israel for its alleged human rights violations against Palestinians.

    Omar became the centre of a controversy in February after she tweeted "It's all about the Benjamins baby", using the slang for a $100 bill in a message suggesting that US support for Israeli had been allegedly purchased through groups such as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    Her comments were roundly condemned by members of the Congress, many of whom, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called on her to issue an apology for remarks they said were prejudiced and anti-Semitic.

    Though Omar apologized, she has maintained her position that groups such as AIPAC, the National Rifle Association and the fossil fuel industry allegedly exercise undue influence in the US Congress.


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