Israel barred two Muslim US congresswomen from a planned visit to East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, after pressure from US President Donald Trump, who has accused the Democratic politicians of anti-Semitism.
Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who have been scathing critics of both Mr Trump and Israeli human rights violations, will not be allowed into the country, Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, told Israel’s Reshet Bet Radio.
The government said that they were barred entry under a controversial Israeli law that allows it to ban visitors, including Jews, who support a movement to boycott Israeli products and companies until it ends the occupation of the West Bank.
Rightwing Israelis have regularly conflated the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Movement, which is popular in Europe and US college campuses, with anti-Semitism. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit,” Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday.
“They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. They are a disgrace!” Both of the barred US politicians are women of colour who have assailed Mr Trump in recent months and become frequent targets of the president. In the past weeks, Israel has welcomed dozens of US politicians, including Democrats, who have offered little or no criticism of Israeli policies regarding Palestinians.