Israel’s Ban of of Islamist Congresswomen was a Tough Call — But Entirely Justifiable
Israel’s decision this week to deny Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib unconditional visiting rights couldn’t have been an easy one. And it’s not cost-free. But it was understandable — and well within Jerusalem’s right to make.
Former Israeli UN Ambassador Michael Oren said Israel faced a “lose-lose” choice — between letting the two congresswomen take their “Boycott the Israeli Occupier” show on the road and refusing their visas and letting the denunciations roll in.
Indeed, criticism followed quickly, from the left, center and right. “No democratic society should fear an open debate,” tweeted Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Against that, Israel had to weigh the fact that Omar and Tlaib are avid Boycott, Divest and Sanction activists. Their itinerary itself was a blatant thumb in the eye to the Israeli government, starting with its description of the pair as a “US Congressional Delegation to Palestine”; neither Israel nor the US recognizes “Palestine.”
They slotted no visits to any undisputed parts of Israel nor meetings with any Israelis who weren’t solid anti-Israel critics.
Their first stop: the American Colony hotel, legendary as the hangout for fierce anti-Israel journalists and foreign delegates. Next: a presentation by UNRWA, another bastion of Israeli-hate. Their goal: nonstop anti-Israel headlines.
And the trip would’ve been funded by MIFTAH, with its history, notes NGO Monitor, of accusing Israel of “apartheid” and “Judaizing” Jerusalem. Some members have backed the use of terror against Israel.
Finally, President Trump tweeted that the two should be banned.