Israel blocks Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from planned visit

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Israel blocks Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from planned visit
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Israel blocks Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from planned visit
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Yesterday, the Israeli government announced their decision to block US Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from a planned visit to the country. The judgement is a result of the congresswomen’s past controversial comments and their vocal support of boycotts against Israel. In an early morning tweet yesterday, President Trump encouraged Israel to block their visit.

In 2017, the Israeli government passed a law allowing the country to block entry of those supporting boycotts against Israel. Both Tlaib and Omar openly support the boycott of Israeli goods and services, known as the BDS movement. Critics of the congresswomen have accused her of hypocrisy for attempting to visit Israel, and spending money in the country, while simultaneously supporting a boycott of the nation.

Just last week, 41 Democratic members of Congress visited Israel as part of a trip sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation. Omar and Tlaib decided to skip that trip in favor of their own. Considering the AIEF is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, perhaps it isn’t too surprising that the congresswomen decided to snub the tour. Omar has publicly criticized the organization in the past.

President Trump may have helped to influence Israel’s decision. Yesterday morning on Twitter, the president said it would show “great weakness” if Israel allowed the congresswomen to visit. He went on to accuse the congresswomen of hating Israel and the Jewish people.

In a 2012 tweet, Omar called Israel “evil” and accused it of “hypnotizing” the planet. On Tlaib’s first day in Congress, a Post-It note reading “Palestine” was placed over Israel on a map in the congresswoman’s office. During an interview earlier this year, Tlaib said that thinking about the Holocaust gives her a “calming feeling.” Even CNN, where Tlaib was routinely defended prior to her statements about the Holocaust, strongly condemned her comments.

The president sparked a controversy of his own last month when he attacked the congresswomen in a series of tweets. Democrats, political pundits, and even some Republicans denounced the statements as racist. However, some political insiders have suggested that the constant barrage of attacks against the congresswomen was intended to keep their names in the press, while forcing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin defending her colleagues amid her own dispute with the freshman members of Congress.

The theory seems logical, based on a recent poll shared by Axios. According to the report, Omar holds just a 9% favorable rating among swing state voters familiar with the congresswoman. With that in mind, it isn’t too surprising that President Trump would be eager to attempt to make Omar and her allies the face of the Democratic Party leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

Below, you can read President Trump’s latest tweets about the congresswomen:

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