U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) were set to visit Israel this weekend — until following public pressure from President Donald Trump to block them, the right wing Israeli government announced it would be activating a law against those who support a certain protest movement to keep the pair from entering. Now, Omar has herself responded to the development with a blunt condemnation of the Israeli government’s behavior after they wrongly claimed that she and Tlaib do not respect Israel’s “right to exist.” In Tlaib’s words, Israel has swung so far into reality-disconnected political football that they’ve essentially implemented “Trump’s Muslim ban.”
Infamously, during the 2016 campaign season, Trump insisted following a California mass shooting that the United States should ban all Muslims from entry. As president, he eventually got a version of that ban implemented, targeting specific Muslim-majority countries. Now, Omar insists:
‘It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minster 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. Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories… 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.’
Omar noted that, grimly enough, this move does match past behavior from the Israeli government as led by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She insisted that the overseas leader 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 Donald Trump.”
Omar has spoken out against Netanyahu’s politics in the past, sometimes attracting accusations of anti-Semitism like those which followed her denunciation of the role of dark money-driven, pro-Israeli nationalism special interests in driving American politics. To be clear — criticism of Israeli politics is not synonymous with some kind of opposition to the state of Israel or Jewish people as a whole. In reality, Trump simply successfully used the
“bully pulpit” to get another country to restrict his political opponents.
Plenty of trolls descended in the Twitter comments.
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