My VIP for this week is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As the leader of Israel, he is defending and sustaining the laws of his nation and is condemned for doing so. It seems that U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) believe that they can boycott Israel and yet be invited to visit the same nation. Israel says, “No.”
The two representatives declined to visit Israel with a large group of Democrats and Republicans a week or so ago and elected to travel by themselves to Israel. Yet, their itinerary did not say “Israel” but “Palestine,” and they did not plan to visit any Israeli government dignitaries. I think that Israel has the right to question the motives behind the trip.
Netanyahu is being blamed for being Trump’s puppet and implementing “Trump’s Muslim ban.” However, the Israeli leader defended his nation’s decision to exclude the two women and even suggested that they had ulterior motives for their trip. Netanyahu explained that the itinerary of Tlaib and Omar “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.” He said that the women’s travel plan referred to a trip to “Palestine” rather than “Israel” and that they were not interested in meeting with Israeli officials. He noted that the visit was planned by the Palestinian organization known as MIFTAH that supports the boycott Israel movement and that people associated with the organization have supported terrorist action against Israel in the past.
Even though Israel welcomes critics, the nation does not welcome anyone who supports boycotts against it. Interior Minister Arye Deri made the decision to exclude the women, and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced it. “Israel has decided – we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country. We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision.”
Any rational-thinking person would agree with Israel’s position. The two women joined fifteen other members of Congress in their vote against a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in July. In addition, Omar introduced her own resolution that encourages people to use boycotts as a political tool. She reportedly said that “it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
Tlaib was extended an opportunity to visit her elderly Palestinian grandmother on two conditions: she would need to file a humanitarian request and would need to promise not to promote boycotts of Israel during her visit. She reportedly declined the offer.
President Donald Trump cheered the Israeli decision in a tweet: “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!” An earlier tweet from the President said, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
Democrats seem unaware that the two women are now the face of their party. They quickly stood behind the two women and condemned both Trump and Israel for the decision. They claim that Israel’s decision to exclude the two Muslim women is based on religious differences. They are too blind to understand that Israel is fighting for its very survival and will exclude anyone or anything that it considers counterproductive to its effort. I applaud Israel and its leaders for having the courage to make its stand.