2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders weighed-in Friday on Israel’s decision to block entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib; saying the US should cut aid to the Jewish State as a direct response.
“Well I wish I could tell you, that I am shocked. I am not,” Sanders told MSNBC. “We have a president who tragically is a racist, is a xenophobe and who is a religious bigot. But the idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars, is clearly an outrage.”
“And if Israel doesn’t want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a first hand look at what’s going on, and I’ve been there many, many times, but if he doesn’t want members to visit, maybe he can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel,” he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied access to the country for Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Thursday; saying they routinely “deny Israel’s legitimacy” and call for a boycott against the Jewish State.
Read his full statement below:
No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel. As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country.
In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world. Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress.
Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.
For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.
A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.
However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.
In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.
Therefore, the minister of interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as prime minister, support his decision.
Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.