Schumer denounces Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Omar and Tlaib

Schumer denounces Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Omar and Tlaib

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Sen Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) briefs reporters March 20, 2018 (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)
Sen Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) briefs reporters March 20, 2018 (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian/TMN)

WASHINGTON – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday denounced a decision by the Israeli government to deny entry to two U.S. congresswomen who support a boycott of the Jewish state over its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians.

“Denying entry to members of the United States Congress is a sign of weakness, not strength. It will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America. No democratic society should fear an open debate. Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Schumer is Jewish and is considered one of Israel’s strongest supporters in Congress.

2020 Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) also denounced the decision.

The congresswomen are Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Both Democrats are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. Both have declared their support for the Boycott Sanctions Divestment (BDS) movement and both have been accused of making anti-Semitic statements on several occasions.

Tlaib is of Palestinian descent and was born in Detroit. Her aunt, uncle and grandmother live in the West Bank. The area has been under Israeli control since the conclusion of the 1967 Six Day War. During the conflict Israel launched a preemptive strike against its Arab neighbors after Egypt closed access to Israeli shipping lanes.

CNN first reported Israel’s decision to bar Omar and Tlaib on Thursday morning.

“The State of Israel respects the American Congress in the framework of the close alliance between the two countries, but it is unthinkable that an entry to Israel would be allowed to those who seek to damage the State of Israel, even during a visit,” Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri told the network in a statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later released a statement in which he applauded the decision.

President Donald Trump weighed in before the decision was made and again after.

Israeli officials reportedly deliberated for weeks over whether to allow the congresswomen to visit. They are the first U.S. lawmakers to be denied entry into the Jewish State. However, Israeli law generally prohibits entry to those associated with the BDS movement. The visit was planned as part a congressional delegation trip.

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