The American Jewish Congress said on Thursday that Israel had made the right decision by denying entry to Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
“The American Jewish Congress has strongly opposed the anti-Semitic and Israel-bashing rhetoric voiced by U.S. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, and understands Israel’s decision to bar them from entering its borders,” said the heads of the organization in a statement.
“It is Israel's sovereign decision to not allow the entry of those who support boycotting the state of Israel, and support organizations whose leaders have some known ties to terrorist groups,” they added.
“The two Members of Congress had no plans to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leadership or to better understand the complexity of the situation as presented by both sides. A show of political theatre would have only served to further inflame the already sensitive atmosphere,” they pointed out.
AJC President Jack Rosen said, “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are no friends of Israel. Had they shown a genuine desire to commit to open and honest dialogue, they could have better understood the true character of the Israeli people and the reality in which they live on a daily basis. But sadly this is not the case, and the Israeli government’s decision is the right one.”
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”.
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.”