Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar condemned Israel’s “oppressive” government during a press conference Monday after being denied entry into the country.
Tlaib of Michigan and Omar of Minnesota were denied entry into Israel because of their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Anyone supporting boycotting Israel can be denied entry into the country under Israeli law. Tlaib was later granted permission after promising not to promote anti-Israel boycotts, but rejected the invitation hours later due to “oppressive conditions.”
Omar and Tlaib held a press conference Monday to speak about their denial into Israel. Omar said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “decision to deny us entry…is the policy of his government” for Palestinians. She also blamed President Donald Trump for suppressing “people’s freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of movement.”
“But this is not just about me,” Omar said Monday. “Netanyahu’s decision to deny us entry might be unprecedented for members of Congress. But it is the policy of his government when it comes to Palestinians. This is the policy of his government when it comes to anyone who holds views that threaten the occupation.”
“A policy that has been edged on and supported by Trump’s administration. That’s because the only way to preserve unjust policy is to suppress people’s freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of movement.”
Omar also accused Israel of not being an ally because of its denial to allow her and Tlaib into the country, and alleged that Trump wants to use issues in Israel to “to pit Muslims and Jewish Americans against each other.” She called for the U.S. to ask Israel to “ensure full rights for Palestinians” before giving them aid.
Tlaib also spoke out against the Israeli government, breaking down as she gave various examples of the hardships faced by Palestinian people in Israel. (RELATED: Tlaib And Omar Share Cartoon From Prominent Anti-Semitic Cartoonist)
“I remember shaking with fear when checkpoints appeared in the small village…tanks and guns everywhere. I remember visiting East Jerusalem with my then-husband and him escorted off the bus although he was a United States citizen, just so security forces could harass him,” Tlaib noted.
“All I can do as my city’s granddaughter, as the granddaughter of a woman who lives in occupied territory is to elevate her voice by exposing the truth, the only way I know how, as my Detroit public schools teachers taught me – by humanizing the pain of oppression.”
The congresswoman followed Omar in condemning Trump and the prime minister, saying Netanyahu followed in Trump’s footsteps by denying them entry into Israel and noting that “all Americans should be deeply disturbed.”
Tlaib and Omar were also denied entry into Israel because the trip was being funded by Miftah, “an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel,” the prime minister wrote in a statement.