Omar: I planned to meet Knesset Members too

Rep. Ilhan Omar insists her itinerary in Israel included meetings with Jewish and Arab MKs, blasts Israel for barring her from entering.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) insisted on Friday that she and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) had planned on meeting Knesset Members during their visit to Israel which had been scheduled for next week before Israel announced it would not permit them entry.

In a lengthy Twitter thread outlining the itinerary of her trip, Omar wrote, “I planned to hold meetings with members of the Knesset (both Jewish and Arab) along with Israeli security officials. The claims of [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] otherwise are not true.”

Omar further claimed the delegation had also scheduled a meeting with the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Her Twitter thread also listed a meeting with members of the leftist organization Breaking The Silence and also accused Israel of a host of human rights violations against Palestinian Arabs. Finally, Omar urged her followers to “learn about the occupation” by following leftist organizations such as Al-Haq, B’Tselem, Amnesty International “and other groups speaking out about human rights violations.”

“As many of my colleagues have stated in the last 24 hours, we give Israel more than $3 billion in aid every year. This is predicated on their being an important ally in the region, and the 'only democracy' in the Middle East,” she wrote.

“Denying visits to duly elected Members of Congress is not consistent with being either an ally or a democracy. We should be leveraging that aid to stop the settlements and ensure full rights for Palestinians,” concluded Omar.

Israel on Thursday announced it would ban Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel under the country’s 2017 anti-BDS law, which bars entry to supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

Omar later lashed out at Netanyahu and accused the State of Israel of implementing a “Muslim ban” drawn up by President Donald Trump.

“It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the US government,” Omar said in a statement following the announcement that she had been banned from Israel.

“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress. Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories. Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

While the decision to ban Tlaib and Omar was formally announced shortly after Trump posted a comment to Twitter urging Israel not to allow the two lawmakers in, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, later clarified that Trump had nothing to do with the decision.

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.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)