“They encircle me with words of hate; they attack me without cause.” (Pslams 109:3)
After much debate and deliberation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to bar congressmen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering Israel. Veteran members of the party are now falling over themselves in a rush to see who can outdo the other in hypocritical support of the anti-Israel freshmen.
After the announcement by the Israeli government on Thursday, Joe Biden, the former Vice President and current front-runner for the Democratic nomination for the upcoming presidential campaign, used Israel’s decision to take a jab at President Trump.
I have always been a stalwart supporter of Israel—a vital partner that shares our democratic values. No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas—even ideas they strongly object to. And no leader of the free world should encourage them to do so.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 15, 2019
Conservative political pundit Ben Shapiro was quick to point out Biden’s hypocrisy.
Remember that time the Obama administration barred a member of Israeli Knesset from entering the United States in 2012? Because you were vice president at the time. https://t.co/kBl47NJ9Tn
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 15, 2019
Shapiro was referring to an incident in 2012 in which Israeli Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari was denied an entry visa by then-President Obama’s State Department who claimed he had ties to a terrorist group. President Reuven Rivlin responded to the ban, calling it “an assault on the Knesset as a whole.” Rivlin said,”The United States’ allegation that an MK is a terrorist is unacceptable.”
It is also noteworthy that despite garnering more than 70 percent of the Jewish vote in his elections, Obama, with Biden at his side, pursued policies that were anti-Israel including a deal greenlighting Iran’s nuclear program at the same time the country was ringing with calls of “Death to Israel and America” and running tests of intercontinental missiles with “Death to Israel” painted on their nose-cones.
The two congressmen planned on heading a junket in Israel organized by MIFTAH, an anti-Israel propaganda group founded by Haneen Ashrawi. The group has used the tour to introduce U.S. politicians to representatives of terrorist organizations. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) attended one such junket and in 2016, just a few months after visiting Israel with MIFTAH, was caught in a speech referring to Jews as “termites.” MIFTAH has been accused of publishing anti-Semitic material including articles that perpetuated the blood-libel myth.
Not to be outdone, the once failed but still hopeful Bernie Sanders jumped in to criticize Israel.
Banning Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel and Palestine is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy. The Israeli government should reverse this decision and allow them in. https://t.co/mvdcmnFBKU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 15, 2019
It is unclear what Sanders meant by referring to “Palestine” which does not refer to any known geographical location or national entity. While claiming that Israel disrespected America’s democracy, Sanders did not explain why Israel’s democratically elected leaders could not decide their own policies, a point that Netanyahu emphasized in his response.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel.
As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 15, 2019
Netanyahu’s decision came in the wake of reports that the Tlaib and Omar were planning a visit accompanied by Palestinian Authority officials to Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, mere days after major riots took place on Tisha B’Av, the day Jews fast to commemorate the destruction of the two Temples. The riots were the Arab masses answering a call by Muslim leaders to prevent the Jews from visiting the site.
Kamala Harris also blamed Israel’s decision on President Trump.
I don’t believe any nation should deny entry to elected Members of Congress, period. It’s an affront to the United States. Open and engaged foreign relations are critical to advancing U.S. interests. Trump is playing politics as he weakens our global leadership. https://t.co/UnMt9Tsd7Q
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 15, 2019
It is interesting to note that Harris was strangely silent when Palestinian officials refused to meet with U.S. representatives who came to negotiate a peace deal.
Tlaib and Omar were excluded from Israel because they supported the Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement which exclusively boycotts Jewish businesses in much the same way that that the Nuremberg Laws targeted Jewish-owned businesses in pre-Nazi Germany. The stated mission of the movement is to bring about the end of the Jewish State, which is clearly stated in their motto of “From the river to the sea.” The founders of the movement have been linked to U.S. designated terrorist organizations.
None of these points were lost on long-time veteran Senator Lindsey Graham who, in an even-handed and cogent manner, addressed several of the aforementioned points while reprimanding the two upstarts.
Senator Graham on Rep. Tlaib and Omar via @WLTX: “From my point of view, there have got to be consequences to your behavior. If you openly joined an international movement to destroy the state of Israel, then you’ll suffer the consequences.” pic.twitter.com/W0j1VaWaDt
— Alan He (@alanhe) August 15, 2019
Of course, the ultimate irony that became a popular meme on social media and was hinted at by Senator Graham was that Omar and Tlaib are outraged that the country they boycotted is now boycotting them.
UPDATE: The Israeli Ministry of the Interior has issued permission to anti-Israel Congressman Rashida Tlaib to enter Israel in order for her to visit her grandmother.