Under a controversial law enacted by Israel in 2017, the state may ban any foreigner from entering the country that “knowingly makes a public call for a boycott of Israel”.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress were scheduled to land this weekend in Tel Aviv to visit the Palestinian Territories.
But following a controversy in the local press and a tweet from US President Donald Trump, the Israeli Ministry of Interior decided Thursday to prohibit their entry into Israel, believing that their visit was part of “anti-Israeli boycott activities”.
”The final decision was made in coordination with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Strategic Affairs”, said the ministry.
It’s quite plausible that the tweet that US president Trump sent out is what tipped the scales for this decision.
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
Netanyahu defended the ban by saying, “leading activists in promoting legislation to boycott Israel in the U.S. Congress. We received their itinerary only a few days ago, and it made clear that they are planning a trip whose entire purpose was supporting the boycott and eroding Israel’s legitimacy. Thus, for example, they defined the destination of their trip as ‘Palestine’ and not as ‘Israel,’ and in contrast with all other Democratic and Republican members of Congress until now, they refrained from requesting any meeting with an Israeli official, either in the government or in the opposition.”