Anti-Israel representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both of whom support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement (though they denied that while running for office), are planning a trip to Israel. BDS is widely recognized as anti-Semitic and subterfuge for the destruction of Israel. Both also credibly have been accused of making anti-Semitic statements themselves.

The trip reportedly was to include the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are built on top of the destroyed Jewish Temples. It is the holiest place in Judaism, but has been used for a century by Arab rulers to incited violence against Jews. Jews are barred from praying on the Temple Mount, but are allowed to visit, which invariably leads to Arab harassment of the visitors and often riots.

The plan by Omar and Tlaib to visit the Temple Mount was considered a provocation that could lead to violence, or at least be used by Palestinians against Israel.

Under Israeli law, Israel can bar entry to supporters of BDS, though it is not absolute and the government has discretion. The Israeli government initially decided to allow them entry to maintain good relations with Congress.

There were numerous reports that Trump was not happy with that decision, and conveyed messages that Omar and Tlaib should be denied entry.

Trump confirmed that view on Twitter today:

It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!

The Israeli government has now reversed course, and decided to enforce the bar:

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely confirms that Israel has made a decision to deny entry to US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib over their BDS support.

“Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” she tells the Kan public broadcaster.

“We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle this is a very justified decision.”

The decision certainly will lead Democrats to rally around Omar and Tlaib. Perhaps that was Trump’s goal, since he has sought to make them the key figures in the Democrat Party leading into 2020.

But it also will strain relations between Israel and Democrats, who already are facing an anti-Israel insurgency lead by Omar and Tlaib and the left-wing of the Democrat Party.

UPDATE:

Netanyahu has issued a statement:

On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is “open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: Israel’s law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel.”

He added, in a Twitter thread, that Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in Congress and that after receiving their visitation plan, “it became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycot and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”

 

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