Biden criticizes decision to bar Tlaib and Omar

Former Vice President: No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas.

Elad Benari ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Former US Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic party’s presidential nomination in next year’s election, criticized Israel on Thursday for its decision to ban Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country.

“I have always been a stalwart supporter of Israel—a vital partner that shares our democratic values. No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas—even ideas they strongly object to. And no leader of the free world should encourage them to do so,” tweeted Biden.

The Interior Ministry earlier confirmed that the two freshman congresswomen would be prevented from entering Israel, citing the 2017 anti-BDS law.

Despite the ban, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said he would consider granting an entry visa to Tlaib, who has relatives in Samaria, on humanitarian grounds, should she request it.

The decision was formally announced shortly after President Donald Trump posted a comment to Twitter urging Israel not to allow the two lawmakers in, claiming the two “hate Israel and all Jewish people”.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted. “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!”

Both lawmakers are known for their anti-Israel comments and support for the anti-Israel boycott movement.

Omar had previously come under fire after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. She subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.

Tlaib claimed in an interview in May that Palestinian Arabs living in the British Mandate prior to the establishment of the State of Israel “provided” a safe haven to Jews after the Holocaust.

When asked in a past television interview whether she would vote against military aid to Israel when she goes to Congress, Tlaib replied “absolutely.”