Why Israel Made the Right Move with Omar and Tlaib
We all now know that Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib will not be going to Israel. Did Israel exercise good judgment in denying them entry? Absolutely. Omar's and Tlaib's support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement reveal that they in fact do not view Israel as an ally of the United States, do not want to promote true peace, and were seeking to use their trip as a Trojan horse to promote an anti-Israel agenda. Their failed trip stood in direct opposition to America's best interest.
Omar and Tlaib Support BDS, Which Supports the Destruction of Israel
Omar and Tlaib both support the BDS movement and voted against a bill, passed in the House of Representatives 398-17, that condemned BDS. The BDS movement is anti-Semitic as it applies a double standard to Israel, the only state for the Jews. BDS activists, including cofounder Omar Barghouti, have frequently asserted that the intention of the BDS movement is not to force Israel to leave Judea and Samaria (commonly referred to as the "West Bank"), nor is it to promote a two-state solution, but to bring about the destruction of Israel itself.
True, after Israel's initial refusal to let Omar and Tlaib into the country, Tlaib later promised not to promote the boycott of Israel if she were allowed to see her grandmother. Israel approved her request. But Tlaib flipped, calling the terms "oppressive" and intended to "humiliate" her. This duplicity further highlighted Tlaib's true malicious intentions toward the Jewish state.
The Tour, like Its Attendees, Would Have Likely Demonized Israel
Omar and Tlaib would have likely used their trip to weaponize hatred against Israel. For one, the trip was organized by PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi's group Miftah. As I have stated before, the PLO/P.A. has a jihadist, anti-Semitic hatred for Israel that continues to this day. Ashrawi holds similarly hostile views and is a supporter of the BDS movement. Miftah's website supported Wafa Idress, a suicide bomber, and propagated the blood libel against the Jews. According to U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the tour was "organized by the most strident of BDS activists ... [and] is nothing more than an effort to fuel the BDS engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support."
The congresswomen were slated to visit Jerusalem (including the Temple Mount), Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah in their itinerary. Tlaib and Omar, either explicitly or implicitly through association, would have likely supported the following messages on this trip:
- Arabs and the world entire should boycott Israel à la BDS.
- The PLO/P.A.'s presence in Jerusalem is legitimate (given that the tour was sponsored by Ashrawi).
- Israel economically oppresses the Arabs of Hebron (a canard debunked here).
- Israeli "settlers" are occupiers of Judea and Samaria, despite the fact that they aren't and that they have an inalienable right to build there.
- Arabs should build in Area C of Judea and Samaria, despite the P.A. and Israel agreeing under the Oslo Accords that Area C is solely under Israeli civil and military control.
- The security barrier is immoral, despite its success in reducing Arab terror attacks in Israel by over 90 percent.
- All descendants of Arabs fleeing Israel during Israel's War of Independence have a right to return to Israel. If realized, this would destroy Israel through demography.
- Arab violence against Israel is justified, as both Tlaib and Omar have insinuated in the past.
Each of the above is an intransigent position that demonizes Israel, does not promote peace, and is not in America's best interest.
Not a Muslim Ban, but a Bigot Ban
Contrary to what Omar would like you to believe, Israel's decision to deny entry to Omar and Tlaib is not a "Muslim ban." Over 72,000 Muslims visited Israel last year, most of which are from countries that have no diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. Given the incessant diplomatic, trade, and cultural boycott of Israel from most of the Muslim world, this number is quite impressive and shows a growing number of Muslims willing to break from the hatred of their co-religionists. Some of the higher profile Muslim visits to Israel included:
- Mohammad Saud and five other Saudi diplomats visited Israel on invitation of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July. Israel welcomed them with open arms, while Palestinians assaulted Mr. Saud in the streets of Jerusalem.
- Forty Muslim leaders and activists from France and Belgium visited Samaria on invitation of the Samaria Regional Council (i.e., "the settlers") in June. Included in the group was French imam Hassen Chalghoumi and Sheikh Nasr Abu Khalil Al-Tamimi from Ramallah, both opponents of BDS.
- Italian imam Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini visited Jerusalem in March 2018 to attend a conference on anti-Semitism.
Israel would no doubt host any of its Muslim supporters and has done so in the past. But those Muslims support Israel's right to exist and do not wish it harm. Rather than a Muslim ban, Israel's decision was a "bigot ban."
Israel has every right to deny entry to anyone that seeks to do it harm. The United States has similarly barred several people from entering its borders based on ideology, including BDS-supporters Omar Barghouti and Hanan Ashrawi, both this year. Such is the right of any democracy. Israel made the right move in denying Omar and Tlaib their platform, and also by calling Tlaib's bluff by offering her a humanitarian visa to enter Israel. Omar's and Tlaib's opinions are nothing short of anti-Semitic and will only hurt prospects for peace in the region.