JERUSALEM (AP) —Israel’s deputy foreign minister says the government has decided to bar two U.S. Democratic congresswomen who support the international boycott movement from entering the country.
Tzipi Hotovely told Israel Radio in an interview Thursday that “Israel has decided not to allow” Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota to visit as planned.
She says it is in keeping with a policy of denying entry to those who advocate boycotts of Israel.
Her remarks came shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted that “it would show great weakness” if Israel allowed them in.
The two newly-elected Muslim members of Congress are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Tlaib’s family immigrated to the United States from the West Bank.
Rep. Omar issued a statement after the Israeli decision:
“It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister 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.
President Donald Trump says Israel should bar two Democratic U.S. congresswomen from visiting the country.
Israel’s prime minister and other top officials were meeting to reevaluate the decision to allow Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to visit next week. Both are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and support a boycott of Israel.
Trump tweeted Thursday: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed” the Americans to visit, claiming: “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”
Trump has spent weeks now criticizing the members, including sending racist tweets.
The Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, had said Israel would not deny entry to any member of Congress.
Israel’s prime minister is holding consultations with senior ministers and aides to reevaluate the decision to allow two Democratic Congresswomen to enter the country next week.
A government official said Thursday that Benjamin Netanyahu was holding consultations about the upcoming visit of Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and that “there is a possibility that Israel will not allow the visit in its current proposed format.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
The Muslim members of Congress are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and advocates of a boycott against the country. Tlaib’s family immigrated to the U.S. from the West Bank.
Last month, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said Israel would not deny entry to any member of Congress.