Trump urges Israel to bar Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib: 'They hate all Jewish people'

Israeli officials reportedly weighing barring the two women using a 2017 law targeting individuals who promote boycotting the country

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 15 August 2019 16:06 BST
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib 'barred from entering Israel', report says

Donald Trump has urged Israel to follow through on its apparent decision to bar Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country.

The US president's comments came just before it was announced that the Israeli government had officially decided not to give the two congresswomen permission to enter the country, in accordance with a 2017 law allowing the government to bar people from entering Israel if they had previously supported boycotts against the nation. The two were expected to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque over the weekend.

"It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep Omar and Rep Tlaib to visit," Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. "They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds."

He continued: "Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!"

Mr Trump's attack on the two women comes amid an ongoing war of words between the three, with rhetoric that has sparked frequent criticism of the president as racist for the way in which he has attacked the two women of colour, alongside representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

It also comes months just days after a vote in the House of Representatives opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to force the end of international support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands.

The resolution disapproved of BDS tactics, "including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel." The measure received overwhelming support in the House, with just 17 voting against it, including Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib.

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Even so, the decision by Mr Deri and Mr Netanyahu was quickly criticised by foreign dignitaries on Thursday, including by Dan Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel who wrote on Twitter that the decision would hurt Israel's relationship with the US while boosting BDS.

"Original Israeli decision to allow Tlaib/Omar visit was wise. Reversal makes little sense. I disagree with their stands on Israel, have criticised them," Mr Shapiro, who served during the Obama administration, wrote. "But zero harm in letting them come learn, see (even if they had an agenda). Reversal harms Israel's standing in US, boosts BDS."

Before Mr Trump's Thursday tweets, the White House had denied the president had expressed the opinion that Israel should bar the two women from visiting, calling reports to the contrary "fake news".

Ms Tlaib is a US-born congresswoman, and was the first Palstinian-American woman elected into the House of Representatives. Ms Omar is a naturalised US citisen.

Requests for comment on the potential of being barred from Israel sent to Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib's office were not immediately returned.

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