Democrats may retaliate against Ambassadors Friedman & Dermer

Democrats are discussing ways to convey a 'deep lack of confidence and trust' in Friedman & Dermer after Israel bans Omar & Tlaib.

Sara Rubenstein ,

Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib hold news conference
Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib hold news conference

House Democrats may retaliate against American and Israeli diplomats in response to Israel's announcement on Thursday that they are banning Dem. Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN) and Rashida Tlaib (MI) from entering the country, according to a McClatchy report on Saturday night.

A group of Democrats, including Jewish members, met on Friday morning to discuss how to convey a “deep lack of confidence and trust” in Israel’s ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, and the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

They weighed the possibility of a statement of no confidence in Dermer and opening an inspector general investigation into Friedman.

“We are reviewing all of our options,” a senior congressional source told McClatchy. “With Dermer, the issue is that there already was a severe lack of trust. But now there is a severe lack of confidence. It is completely unclear that he represents his government given he has made promises that he has not kept and wasn’t clear if he ever had any chance of keeping."

Regarding David Friedman, who released a statement supporting Israel's decision, the group compared his actions to an incident in 1975 when Henry Waxman, a Jewish Democratic congressman (CA) was banned from Saudia Arabia due to his Jewish identity. The State Department intervened and Saudia Arabia relented and allowed him entry.

According to the group, Friedman is violating that precedent by failing to support Tlaib and Omar and they may call for an inspector general investigation “into the role the ambassador played in barring them from entering the country."

“Committees can make it very difficult for ambassadors to do their jobs if he makes it very difficult for our members to do our jobs," a congressional source told McClatchy

The group of Democrats included Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel of New York and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York.

Israel announced on Thursday that it would deny entry to Tlaib and Omar due to their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israel’s decision to ban Tlaib and Omar came shortly after Trump wrote on Twitter that Israel “would show great weakness” if it let in the two congresswomen.

However, while some accused Israel of caving to pressure from Trump on the matter, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, later clarified that Trump had nothing to do with the decision.

“We were not pressured by the Trump administration to do this and this is a sovereign decision that Israel has to make,” Dermer said in a phone call with US Jewish leaders, explaining the decision was motivated by the fact that the two Muslim lawmakers support BDS.

“The leadership of our country believes that this visit was designed solely with the intention of promoting BDS and they were gonna use this visit as platform to BDS activities,” the ambassador said.