By Associated Press
Just minutes after President Donald Trump tweeted that Israel should bar a planned visit by Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said the government has decided not to admit the congresswomen to the country for an upcoming conference.
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.
Trump had tweeted that “it would show great weakness” if Israel allowed them in and went as far as to accuse the House members of hatred for Jewish people:
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, had said previously that Israel would not bar entry to any member of the U.S. Congress.
A predecessor, Danny Ayalon, tweeted that the Israeli government had accepted a Trump administration recommendation that the visit by Tlaib, whose family immigrated to the United States from the West Bank, and Omar not be permitted:
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham had labeled it “fake news” when Axios reported that Trump’s preference that the visit be banned was being weighed at the top levels of Netanyahu’s government.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, till recently a Republican, argued on Twitter that barring U.S. lawmakers from visiting Israel would ultimately damage the bilateral relationship:
Hotovely, the deputy foreign minister, said the Thursday decision was in keeping with a policy of denying entry to those who advocate boycotts of Israel. The congresswomen have voiced support for the so-called Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement, which is widely identified as BDS.
The U.S.’s enjoy to Israel released a statement saying the United States supported the Netanyahu government’s decision “to deny entry to the Tlaib/Omar Delegation”:
MarketWatch contributed to this Associated Press report.