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Israel Weighs Blocking Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from West Bank Visit


Many Israelis and Jewish leaders have also expressed discomfort with the idea that American officials could be denied entry because of their beliefs or criticism of Israel, and it was not immediately clear why Israel’s considerations had changed.

But many here pointed to a recent report by Axios saying that President Trump had told advisers that he thought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should bar Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar under a law that denies entry to foreign nationals who publicly show support for a boycott.

Under the law, passed in 2017, Israel can bar entry to people considered prominent advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a loose network that, among other goals, aims to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank. Pro-Israel advocates accuse the movement’s supporters of anti-Semitism.

Last month, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott-Israel movement as one that “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”

Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib’s public support for the boycott movement had already drawn criticism from the White House. In remarks last month that were widely condemned as racist, Mr. Trump said that four congresswomen of color — Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib, as well as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — should “go back” to the countries they came from.

Mr. Netanyahu, for his part, is in the middle of a tight election campaign, and some analysts say he can ill afford to appear weak when dealing with high-profile critics of Israeli policies. At the same time, he is involved in a high-wire act of trying to balance Israel’s ties with the Democrats and his close embrace of, and support from, Mr. Trump.

“If they are prevented from entering, it will be the foolishness of the Netanyahu government,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York, told Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday. “These are congresswomen of the majority party, which most American Jews vote for.”


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