2020 Democrats urge Israel to reverse decision banning Omar, Tlaib visit

Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are condemning Israel’s move to ban two U.S. congresswomen from visiting the country and are urging the Israeli government to reverse its decision.

The two White House hopefuls weighed in shortly after Israel confirmed it would bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from visiting the country this weekend over their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.

{mosads}“Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views. This would be a shameful, unprecedented move,” Warren tweeted. “I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.”

“Banning Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel and Palestine is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy,” Sanders tweeted. “The Israeli government should reverse this decision and allow them in.”

Israeli officials announced Thursday that the country would deny entry to Tlaib and Omar, outspoken critics of the country.

Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the country would not “allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter,” according to The Times of Israel.

President Trump had called on the Israeli government to block the two U.S. lawmakers from entering the country, despite leaders of both parties saying they should be able to visit.

A new Israeli law denies entry to those who back boycotts targeting the country. Trump argued it would show “great weakness” on Israel’s part if it allowed Omar and Tlaib in.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, widely seen as the Democratic Party’s primary frontrunner, condemned Israel’s move to ban the lawmakers’ entry and took a shot at Trump for encouraging the country to do so.

“I have always been a stalwart supporter of Israel—a vital partner that shares our democratic values. No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas—even ideas they strongly object to. And no leader of the free world should encourage them to do so,” Biden tweeted.

“Make no mistake, the Israeli government just barred two elected members of the U.S. Congress from an official trip just to appease President Trump’s fragile ego,” tweeted former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, another Democrat who is running for president.

“This is appalling. They should be allowed to enter,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said Israel’s decision is “precisely wrong.” 

“I’m disappointed that the Prime Minister and his government did this, and it is clear that President Trump pushed him to do so as part of his effort to make Israel policy a partisan wedge to further divide the country,” Delaney said in an emailed statement. 

“We benefit from more dialogue, not less. While I strongly disagree with Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar’s support of BDS, I strongly agree that vibrant democracies and great leaders must lift up and put the long term strength of the alliance above partisan talking points.”

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang said he hopes Israel reverses its decision, and said Trump cares more about “riling his base.”

“.@realDonaldTrump cares more about riling his base against Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib than he cares about the U.S. – Israel Relationship. I hope Israel pushes back and reverses this decision,” Yang tweeted

Other candidates focused on slamming Trump for encouraging such a move.

“It’s sad to have a president who acts like a child bully in the schoolyard when it comes to international relations,” tweeted Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.).

“President Trump, you show great weakness every single day—when you attack women of color, when you degrade the office of the president, and when you ask our allies to stoop to your level,” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) tweeted.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also made a plea to Israel to reverse its decision to ban the Muslim American Democrats from crossing its border, while also taking a dig at Trump.

“Trump’s constant attacks on Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib are no secret to Israeli leadership. Reversing this decision would demonstrate they understand the dangerous nature of Trump’s racist rhetoric both here at home and around the world,” Booker tweeted

Updated at 4:22 p.m.

Tags Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Cory Booker Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Ilhan Omar Joe Biden John Delaney Rashida Tlaib Seth Moulton

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