Netanyahu issued a statement Thursday evening justifying the decision to keep two virulently anti-Israel congresswoman from the U.S. out of the Jewish state.
By World Israel News Staff
Following news that Israel’s Ministry of the Interior decided to bar entry to U.S. lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib over their support for anti-Israel activities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the move.
“As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country,” explained Netanyahu.
“In fact, in the past the U.S. did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world,” he continued.
Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar have made criticism of Israel a centerpiece of their political careers even prior to entering Congress. Omar has been accused of anti-Semitism for tweeting that “evil Israel” had “hypnotized” the world and for claiming that pro-Israeli lobbyists bribe elected officials in the U.S. to support the Jewish state.
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, has vowed to slash aid to Israel.
In his statement on Thursday, Netanyahu referred to Omar and Tlaib as “leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress” whose itinerary “reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.”
According to Netanyahu, the congresswomen’s plans in Israel demonstrated that their visit’s “sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.” He noted that they “listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.”
Netanyahu commented that “the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.”
“The Minister of Interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as Prime Minister, support his decision,” Netanyahu concluded, adding that “if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.”