Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Thursday night explaining the reason for his ultimate decision to bar US Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the State of Israel.
Both members of Congress have repeatedly demonstrated their support for the international Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign against Israel, which strives to actively cause harm and ultimately destroy the state.
“There is no country in the world that respects the US and the American Congress more than Israel,” he said. “However, the itinerary showed that the Congresswomen’s sole intention was to harm Israel.”
“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,” Netanyahu pointed out.
“In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.
If one thinks denying visas to democratically elected but politically extreme legislators harms US-Israel relationship, you must have been livid when Obama Admin (with @DanielBShapiro as ambassador) barred MK Ben Ari. Current outrage totally manufactured. https://t.co/6cISA9bYOH
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) August 15, 2019
“Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.
“For instance: 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.
“A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.
“However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.
“In addition, 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. Therefore, the Minister of Interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as Prime Minister, support his decision.
Nonetheless, 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.”