Biden, Harris, join the critics on Israel's decision to bar Omar and Tlaib

Political leaders from both sides of the spectrum are continuing to react in favor for or against the decision.

August 16, 2019 05:21
4 minute read.
U.S. Reps Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) hold a news conference after Democrats in the U

U.S. Reps Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) hold a news conference after Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved to formally condemn President Donald Trump's attacks on four minority congresswomen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 15, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON - Israel's decision to bar Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, from the radical wing of the Democratic party, from entering Israel is continuing to send shock waves in Washington, while political leaders from both sides of the spectrum are continuing to react in favor for or against the decision.

Former Vice President and current Democratic hopeful, Joe Biden, criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision and tweeted, "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."

Another Democratic hopeful, Senator Kamala Harris, posted a tweet, saying: "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."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a member of Omar and Tlaib's "squad," tweeted that she will not schedule any visit to Israel until the two would be allowed to visit the country. "Netanyahu's discriminatory decision to ban members of Congress from Israel harms international diplomacy. Visiting Israel and Palestine are key experiences towards a path to peace," she added.

Republican Senator Susan Collins joined the voices who supported letting the duo into the country and tweeted, "Israel should allow US Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to visit. The Trump administration made a mistake in urging Israel to prevent them from entering the country."

"Instead," she added, "the Administration should have encouraged Israel to welcome the visit as an opportunity for Reps. Tlaib and Omar to learn from the Israeli people. We have to be willing to talk if we want people to change their views."

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-5), defended the decision and wrote that "Like many nations, Israel bars enemies from entering Israel. How can anyone disagree with that? Israel bans Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib because they hate, want to hurt, maybe even destroy, Israel. I respect and support Israel's sovereignty and right to exist."

B'nai B'rith International President Charles Kaufman and CEO Daniel Mariaschin issued a statement backing the decision, saying Israel should not tolerate those who are undermining its legitimacy.

"Israel has a policy that does allow the barring of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) supporters from entering the country," the two wrote.

"Israel's lawmakers have determined that its security needs warrant barring those who back boycotts of the country and who call for the end of Israel's existence as a Jewish state. As a vibrant democracy, Israel has so much to proudly showcase. But its basic right to existence, equality, and safety warrant respect by all, not least by those who visit."

"Countries, especially an acutely threatened one like Israel, may and must sometimes grapple with tension between openness and wellbeing. This is one such example," they added.

House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, who just concluded a visit to Israel, as a part of a bipartisan delegation, tweeted that "A record 70+ members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats— came to Israel this month with open minds, open eyes, and open ears. It's unfortunate that a few freshmen members declined to join this opportunity to hear from all sides. They should have come."

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