Reps Tlaib and Omar Banned from Israel

August 16, 2019
Contact: Sonya E Meyerson-Knox | | 929-290-0317

“Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Tlaib and Omar from entering on their delegation is the direct result of Congress’s unwillingness to hold Israel accountable for its racist and authoritarian policies. For as long as it’s existed, the Israeli government has forced these kinds of heart wrenching and impossible choices on Palestinians. Now they have held a Member of Congress’s family hostage unless she agrees to censor herself. We have every right to demand our elected officials start holding Israel accountable. We are in awe of Rep. Tlaib’s courage and stand by her.” 

Beth Miller, Government Affairs Manager, Jewish Voice for Peace

This morning’s announcement that Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be blocked from entry by Israel is consistent with their increasingly authoritarian policies toward Palestinians and all those who support Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).  But for sitting Congresswomen to be prevented from entry is a new low that only serves to illustrate Israel’s racist and exclusionary practices. This is a situation all too familiar for Palestinians due to decades of exclusionary practices by Israel.

This decision is especially egregious given it seems to be at least in part due to President Trump’s encouragement of the Israeli government to deny their entry. That Trump would actively encourage Israel to bar elected members of his own government is unprecedented and alarming. Given Israel has rolled out the red carpet for authoritarian leaders such as Prime Minister Modi of India and President Bolsanaro of Brazil, this decision emphasizes the political forces that Trump and Netanyahu are allying themselves with. 

It is therefore even more important that the members of Congress who just visited Israel under the auspices of AIPAC – and in particular Rep. Tlaib and Omar’s 41 colleagues on the trip – take concrete action to send a message that this is simply unacceptable. 

We offer Representatives Tlaib and Omar our solidarity and support, and a redoubled commitment to organizing alongside them for justice, equality and freedom for all people.

“For Israel to bar the entry of members of Congress based on their political views is unconscionable – but also the perfect illustration of Israel’s racist apartheid policies in practice.” 

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

“We expect that Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar’s  41 colleagues who just visited Israel with AIPAC will speak out in the strongest terms to condemn the anti-democratic barring of their entry to Israel – and therefore the West Bank and E. Jerusalem as well. Israel needs to let them in.”

Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director, Jewish Voice for Peace