Michael Brown on Was Israel Right to Ban Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib?

Israel’s government blocked Reps. Rashida Tlaib, left, and Ilhan Omar from a planned visit. PHOTO: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The dueling headlines said it all. On the right, the Breitbart homepage proclaimed, “Bibi Bans Jew Haters.” On the left, the Huffington Post announced, “Israel Extreme: Muslim Critics Not Welcome.” The question is: Did Israel do the right thing in banning Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel? And did President Trump influence the decision?

According to Trump, letting the Congresswomen into Israel would “show great weakness.” Conversely, according to Tlaib, not letting them in was a “sign of weakness.”

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What are we to make of this?

In favor of Israel’s decision, Breitbart’s Aaron Klein wrote, “An organization run by notorious Palestinian extremist and Israel boycott defender Hanan Ashrawi co-sponsored and organized the planned visit to Israel by controversial Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.”

So, not only are Omar and Tlaib supporters of the boycott, divest, sanctions (BDS) movement (who recently compared the Israeli government to the Nazis), but their visit was partially hosted and organized by Miftah. This organization “‘has accused Israel of committing ‘massacres,’ ‘apartheid,’ ‘summary executions’ of Palestinian youth and ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem. It has also accused Israel of ‘ethnic-cleansing of Palestinian-Israeli Arabs.'”

So much for Omar and Tlaib having any good intentions.

As Israel’s Interior Minister stated, “it is inconceivable that Israel would be expected to let into the country those who wish to hurt it, including by means of the visit itself.”

Accordingly, the logic for banning them was simple: Omar and Tlaib were not going to engage in a fair-minded, fact-finding mission. Instead, they were going to engage in a predetermined, Israel-bashing mission, using their time on the ground as a glorified, propaganda-driven, photo-op.

In short, these Israel-haters would be given lots of fuel for their hostile fire. Why should Israel allow them to step foot in their country? For what purpose?

In response, Omar wrote, “Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but to enter the Palestinian territories. Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

Interestingly, AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), was critical of Israel’s decision, tweeting, “We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

Israel’s decision also prompted “Democratic lawmakers to rally around Omar and Tlaib— including members of Congress who had previously expressed criticism over their positions— uniting moderates and progressives who have disagreed over this broader issue for months.”

What, then, should we make of Israel’s decision?

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SOURCE: Charisma News

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