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

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international human rights NGO, released a statement in support of Israel's decision to bar Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting.

“Representatives Omar and Tlaib are unapologetic anti-Semites and supporters of the anti-peace BDS movement,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s associate dean and director of global social action," the Wiesenthal Center stated. “The congresswomen should have joined dozens of their colleagues who recently visited Israel and Palestinian territories. Still, the first instinct of Israeli officials to let them into the country was right one.”

The Interior Ministry announced Thursday that Tlaib and Omar would not be allowed to enter the country, reversing a decision by the government last month to allow the congresswomen to visit. The ministry cited the 2017 anti-BDS law in its decision.

“The decision was made based on the opinion of the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, after Minister Deri noted that the matter involved supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, who are prohibited from entering the country, according to the law regarding entry into Israel,” the Interior Minister's office said in a statement Thursday.

"These are people who use the most influential platform in the world to express support for BDS organizations which call for the boycotting of Israel. The State of Israel respects the American Congress, as part of the close alliance between our two countries, but we cannot permit people into the country who seek to hurt the State of Israel."

Under the law, the Interior Ministry may bar entry to individuals who have publicly expressed support for the BDS movement against Israel.

Both Omar and Tlaib, first-term Democrats who have sparked controversy for their comments on Israel which some have deemed anti-Semitic, have backed the BDS movement.