AIPAC, which advocates for a staunch alliance between the US and Israel, has frequently sided with Trump administration policies that have supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, making its opposition especially notable.
“We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand,” AIPAC tweeted early Thursday afternoon.
Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, have frequently criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and expressed support for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, which aims to end international support for Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians. That support was cited by the Israeli government as the basis for blocking them from entering the country.
The two congresswomen have previously been criticized by AIPAC. Omar drew controversy earlier this year for suggesting Republican support of Israel is fueled by donations from AIPAC. The Minnesota Democrat later apologized, but reaffirmed what she called the “problematic role of lobbyists in our politics,” including AIPAC. She insinuated pro-Israel groups were pushing “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Netanyahu spoke at the annual AIPAC conference via video earlier this year and condemned Omar’s comments, saying, “it’s not about the Benjamins” and that the “reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values.”
The move to bar the two US congresswomen from Israel was encouraged by Trump, who has frequently criticized Omar and Tlaib and accused them of being anti-Semitic. The decision to bar the congresswomen, however, amounts to a remarkable step by the Israeli government to punish political opponents of the US President.
This story is breaking and will be updated.