By TOI Staff—
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau will decide whether US congresswomen Omar Ilhan and Rashida Tlaib will be allowed to enter Israel and the West Bank next month, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
Ilhan told the Jewish Insider on Wednesday that she and Tlaib were planning to visit Israel and the West Bank in “a few weeks,” but the trip could be nixed by Jerusalem over their support for the Palestinian-led anti-Israel boycott movement.
Both Omar, a Somali-born lawmaker from Minnesota, and Tlaib, the first-Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress, have been accused of harboring anti-Israel sentiment, in part due to their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Omar on Tuesday introduced a resolution cosponsored by Tlaib aimed at pushing back against laws seeking to clamp down on boycotts of Israel. The resolution, which does not explicitly mention Israel or the pro-Palestinian BDS movement, affirms the right of Americans to participate in boycotts as an expression of free speech under the First Amendment, citing boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the USSR and apartheid South Africa.
Omar, Tlaib and other BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to oppose unjust policies toward Palestinians. Israel says the movement masks its motives to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.
In 2017, Israel enacted a controversial law barring entry to any foreigner who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.”
Since then, the Interior and Strategic Affairs ministries have used the law to deny visas to a handful of students, activists and artists upon their arrival to Israel.
The Foreign Ministry can recommend the law be waived for visiting politicians or government officials out of diplomatic concerns; however, due to the sensitive nature and timing of Omar and Tlaib’s visit, the Haaretz daily reported Wednesday the final decision will be made by Netanyahu.
Omar was accused of anti-Semitism earlier this year after she said that American support for Israel was driven by money from a pro-Israel lobbying group. Continue Reading….