Democrats mull revenge after Israel bars Omar, Tlaib

Senior Democrats are looking for ways to show their displeasure over Israel’s decision to bar BDS-supporters Omar and Tlaib, McClatchy reports. 

By World Israel News Staff

Senior Democrats in Congress are looking for reprisal after two of their members, Reps. Omar Ilhan (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), were refused entry into Israel on Thursday by the Netanyahu government, news wire McClatchy reported on Friday.

The Democrats are weighing action against senior emissaries in the Israeli and U.S. government for their parts in Israel’s decision to prevent the two congresswomen from entering.

The Democratic legislators, numbering about a dozen, zeroed in on two officials: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The group is considering a statement of no confidence in Dermer and opening an inspector general investigation into Friedman, sources told McClatchy.

On July 19, shortly after news first broke of the planned trip, Dermer promised that Israel would permit Omar and Tlaib to enter “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

The Democrats would base their statement of no confidence on the fact that Dermer had promised one thing and Israel did another. “It is completely unclear that he represents his government given he has made promises that he has not kept and wasn’t clear if he ever had any chance of keeping,” a senior source told McClatchy.

During a visit to Israel by 41 Democratic representatives organized by an AIPAC-affiliated organization earlier this month, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) referred to Dermer’s promise at a Jerusalem press conference. When Israel reversed itself, Hoyer said the move was “deeply disappointing,” “disrespectful,” “unacceptable” and a “self-inflicted wound” to the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Two sources told McClatchy that Hoyer is involved in the talks concerning what steps could be taken in response, but his spokeswoman denies it.

In the case of Amb. Friedman, Democrats argue that in his public support for Israel’s move he failed to defend members of Congress.

In a public letter on August 15, Friedman wrote that the U.S. “supports and respects” Israel’s decision to bar the two, adding “This trip, pure and simple, is nothing more than an effort to fuel the BDS engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support.”

The Democrats are mulling an inspector general investigation into his role in keeping them out of the country.

“Committees can make it very difficult for ambassadors to do their jobs,” a source told McClatchy, “if he makes it very difficult for our members to do our jobs.”

Pundits defending Israel’s decision have opined that Omar and Tlaib had concocted their trip from the start as a set-up to embarrass Israel. They point to the fact that the two announced their trip to Israel only a day after attempting to push through a House resolution favoring BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

They knew that Israel enacted a law in 2017 barring BDS supporters from entering the country and so must have realized their chances of entering would be slim. They could then turn around and criticize Israel once they were denied entry, pundits say.

BDS has been exposed as a movement seeking Israel’s destruction. On July 23, the U.S. House passed a resolution condemning BDS as it “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”

Omar and Tlaib are the first members of Congress to support BDS.