Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOver 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Overnight Defense & National Security — DOD watchdog to review extremism screening MORE (D-Minn.) blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE on Thursday over Israel's decision to deny her and Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden announces green buildings initiative Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer House Democrats inquire about possible census undercount in Detroit, other communities MORE (D-Mich.) entry into the country, calling it “an insult to democratic values.”
“It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu, under pressure from President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government," Omar, who has been critical of the Israeli government, said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
Omar argued that the decision "is not a surprise" given Netanyahu's past remarks, asserting 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 Donald Trump."
The Israeli government confirmed earlier Thursday that it would block Omar and Tlaib's planned visit this weekend to the country, noting that Israeli law prohibits entry for those who have advocated for a boycott of Israel.
Lawmakers from both parties on Thursday called Israel's decision a mistake and urged the country to reverse course to allow entry for Omar and Tlaib.
The lawmakers, who became the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress last year, have been critical of Netanyahu's government and have both supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel
Netanyahu defended his decision in a statement Thursday, saying the country’s law “prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel, as is the case with other democracies that prevent the entry of people whose perception harms the country.”
The move was announced shortly after Trump urged Israel to deny entry to the U.S. congresswomen on Twitter.
Trump cited what he called their “hate” for Israel and Jewish people in urging the Israeli government to keep them out of the country.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!” he added.
Omar argued that as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, it is her job “to conduct oversight of foreign aid from the United States of America and to legislate on human rights practices around the world.”
“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," she added.