Israel bars entry to US politicians Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

Donald Trump had said letting in high-profile pair would ‘show great weakness’

Israel has announced it will block the US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country after public pressure from Donald Trump.

“It’s unacceptable to allow the entrance to the country of those who wish to harm the state of Israel,” the country’s interior ministry said.

Omar and Tlaib, who have been outspokenly critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, had planned to visit Palestine and Jerusalem next week.

There had been vigorous speculation in the past few weeks that the Israeli government might bar the two women, who are among the four Democrats who Trump said last month should go back to the countries they “originally came from”. Three were born in the US and one, Omar, moved there as a child.

Shortly before the Israeli announcement, Trump said allowing the women to enter “would show great weakness”. It was not immediately clear if the Israeli government made its final decision before or after Trump’s comments.

“They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds … They are a disgrace!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The ban prompted strong rebukes from Palestinian, Israeli and US politicians, civil society groups and former diplomats.

The Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren said before the announcement that barring elected officials for their political views would be a shameful and unprecedented move by Israel.

Bernie Sanders, another Democratic contender, said the ban was “a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress and to the principles of democracy”.

Israel passed a law in 2017 that allows the government to deport people who support a boycott of Israel or Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The measure, widely condemned as anti-democratic and anti-free speech, was designed to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Omar and Tlaib have said they support the use of boycotts to pressure governments, including Israel’s, on rights abuses. They have sought to pass a resolution in the House of Representatives championing the right to participate in them.

'She went back with me': Ilhan Omar posts photos with Pelosi in Ghana

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused the two women of aiming to use their trip to “strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy”.

Israel has used the BDS legislation to block entry to students and activists but also foreign officials, including French parliamentarians and members of the European parliament. It is not clear if a US member of congress has ever been barred before.

Ayman Odeh, who runs an Arab party in Israel, said the ban exposed “the true face of Israel’s occupation”. Referring to Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, he wrote on Twitter: “Israel has always banned Palestinians from their land and separated us from other Palestinians, but this time the Palestinian is a US congresswoman.”

The interior ministry said Tlaib could request a permit to enter on “humanitarian grounds for a personal visit with her family”, but approval was not guaranteed.

Omar and Tlaib were planning to see the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah and to spend time in the disputed city of Jerusalem. They would have had to pass through Israeli security checks to enter both the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Alon Pinkas, formerly Israel’s consul in New York, said the country should “engage Omar and Tlaib, [and] show them where they are wrong or have a partial and skewed perception of reality.”

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, said last month that Israel would not deny entry to US lawmakers “out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America”.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, said the ban was “a sad reversal and is deeply disappointing”.

Trump, a close ally of Netanyahu, has sought to make political support for the Jewish state – long a consensus foreign policy for both major US parties – into a partisan issue, painting Democrats as anti-Israel. He has claimed, without evidence, that Omar and Tlaib “hate Israel, they hate our own country.”

David Brinn, the managing editor of the rightwing Jerusalem Post, wrote that a ban would be “shortsighted and deeply flawed”. He wrote: “A quashed trip is only going to further deepen the divide between Democrats and Israel – moving moderate Democrats away from a positive view of the country – and raise the spectre that Israel is behaving in something less than a democratic fashion.”

Omar and Tlaib make up half of a group of progressive minority ethnic congresswomen nicknamed the Squad, against whom Trump has lashed out with racist slurs. The other two members are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

Tlaib was born in Michigan to Palestinian parents. Omar is naturalised US citizen who arrived as a child refugee from Somalia. The pair were the first Muslim women elected to congress.

  • Published in World

The Trump Plan: A Fascist America?

The North American lawyer born in Somalia Ilhan Omar branded on Thursday as "Fascist" the president Donald Trump, after the leader accused her in an electoral meeting of hating the United States and asked her to "return" to her country of origin.

Does anyone doubt the racism, the xenophobia and white nationalism of the North American president, Donald Trump so far?

If there was any doubt about it, it was dispelled this weekend, when the real estate magnate attacked via Twitter four democratic congress members of different races to whom, even being Americans, he asked them to return to their countries of origin."

As the young lawyers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) and Ihlan Omar (Minnesota) are not white or blond, Trump determined that they have forbidden to "say to the most powerful country on Earth how it should be governed.

As if these words weren’t racist and discriminatory enough, he kept shooting through his Twitter account: "it’s interesting watching those progressive democratic congress members coming from the worst countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, to say "aloud and aggressively" to the U.S. people how their Executive should be handled" concluded Trump.

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It seems the President doesn't have in his agenda to diplomatically handle The Squad, as they are known in the political circle these four lawyers. All of them belonging to ethnic minorities, they landed in Washington after the elections of November that concluded in the most diverse congress and with the largest number of women representatives in history.

Even, the white supremacist, has refused to apologize and has insisted in that he doesn't have "a single racist bone in his body", to what the former vice-president and also democrat candidate for 2020 Elections, Joe Biden, replied with irony that if Trump doesn't have a "single racist bone in his body" that’s because he "has no bones."

Let’s remember that Trump is in charge in the Republican Party, besides, he believes he is God on Earth and, to make matters worse, there are some who lower the head without uttering a sound like the spokesman of Twitter, Brandon Borrman, when declaring to The Washington Post: "The tweets in question do not break the policies of the social network", although the policies of the company forbid to "promote violence against, or directly attack or threaten other people for reasons of race, ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or severe illness".

On the other hand, the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, replied harshly to the republican leader: "I reject Trump’s xenophobic comments that seek to divide our country", and at the time she accused him of making America white.

Besides, the members of that legislative body approved a resolution that condemns, energetically, the statements "that have legitimated and enhanced the fear and hatred toward the new Americans and people of color", supported by 240 congress members.

But, as it was expected, Trump qualified the resolution as stupid and this Thursday he attacked again the rebel lawyers, when he accused them, in a reelection meeting of his campaign, of "feeding the emergence in the United States of a dangerous militant left".

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Donald Trump has transformed the hostility between races into the core of his reelection campaign, and some of his critics even believe that the strategy could win a second round in the presidency.

It is so that in the aforementioned meeting, in Greenville, North Carolina, a crowd chanted outside the premises: "Send them back! ", repeating the Trump’s tweet during the weekend about the lawyers should "returning" to their country of origin.

The president has kept a hard-hand position against immigration in these four years, he seems to forget that the United States is a country of immigrants. His own wife, Melania Trump, came from Slovenia 20 years ago, and his mother, Mary MacLeod, was born in Scotland and at age 18 she left towards the United States, where she married Fred Trump, son of German immigrants.

However, to win votes beyond his faithful followers in the campaign, the leader bets on the racial divisions and white nationalism, to the very style of Adolfo Hitler’s fascism in Germany when, after spurring the hatred against Jews, unleashed the Holocaust that exterminated in World War II nearly six million people.

No wonder the American lawmaker Ilhan Omar branded Trump this Thursday as "Fascist". “We have said that this president is racist, we have condemned his racist comments", he also told the press who is, one of the two Muslim women in Congress. "I believe that he is a Fascist."

As it’s already known, the American Dream of many immigrants in the U.S. has ended up in the new concentration camps in North American territory. Now we just have to wait and see if the self-proclaimed owner of the world, in a fascist flush, will end, for racial reasons, extraditing those who have historically made America big.

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