Israel’s deputy foreign minister announced Thursday that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are to be denied entry to Israel following President Trump’s pressuring of the Israeli government on the matter.
Tzipi Hotovely, who has served as deputy foreign minister since 2015 as a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, made the surprise announcement on Reshet Bet, a channel of Israel’s public Kol Yisrael radio service. “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel,” Hotovely said, referring to various anti-Israel policies and rhetoric perpetuated by the two representatives.
Both Omar and Tlaib are supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish Israel financially for what it sees as mistreatment of Palestinians. Both have been reliable votes against anti-BDS bills in Congress alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a fellow member of “the Squad.”
Omar in particular has come under intense scrutiny regarding her rhetoric on Israel ever since she was elected to Congress. Her “It’s all about the Benjamins” remarks on Twitter from February 2019, together with an unearthed post from 2012 in which she said that Israel had “hypnotized the world,” caused a prolonged controversy that resulted in her issuing an apology-by-tweet. Tlaib backed up her colleague the entire time, calling her “an incredible courageous woman.”
President Trump has repeatedly suggested over the past week that Israel ought to bar Omar and Tlaib from entry. Axios reported on August 10 that Trump had been telling his advisers that Israel’s 2017 anti-BDS law, which denies entry to foreign nationals who support boycotts of Israel, should be applied to the Democrats. Trump then took to Twitter Thursday morning, asserting that the country would “show great weakness” to permit entry to the two representatives, saying that they “hate Israel & all Jewish people.” It seems like the Israeli government was listening.