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At the apparent urging of President Donald Trump, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed its decision to allow US Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) to visit Israel .
Caught between the opposing views of President Trump and Democratic leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed himself on Thursday and decided to prohibit Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from visiting Israel during a trip scheduled to start Sunday.
The move followed an unusual intervention by Trump and immediately opened up a new battle between Netanyahu and Democrats, who had privately warned that such a decision would be unprecedented and inconsistent with Israel’s claims of tolerance and openness.
“The decision has been made; the decision is not to allow them to enter,” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israel’s Reshet Radio.
In a statement, Netanyahu insisted that his government continues to respect the U.S. Congress but said there are limits to whom it will allow entry. “As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to all its critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel,” he said.
If Israel’s initial response would have been to deny visas to Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib I would thought that is was a wrong headed decision but accepted it. But to reverse the decision on short notice…and at the urging of the president…is just flat out wrong. It reeks of Trump interfering in Israeli politics and Trump encouraging Netanyahu to interfere in US politics. Just another example of the empiric tendencies of the Trump regime that the GOP in Washington is afraid to rein in.
But in the land of Twitter it always gets worse:
Trump weighed in Thursday morning on the impending decision, writing on Twitter: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.” Pivoting to domestic politics, Trump added: “Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
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