US congresswomen barred from Israel over BDS support: Netanyahu

Netanyahu says Omar, Tlaib banned over Israel boycott support
1 min read
15 August, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has claimed Israel is 'open to all' while explaining why two Muslim congresswomen have been banned.
Binyamin Netanyahu claimed 'all' are welcome to Israel [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says Israel "is open to all visitors and all criticism," but will bar entry to two US Democratic congresswomen over their support for Israel boycotts.

Netanyahu's office issued a statement on Thursday saying that based on Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar's itinerary for an upcoming visit to the West Bank and Jerusalem, "it became clear that they are planning a trip whose sole purpose was strengthening the boycott and negating the legitimacy of Israel."

The prime minister said Israel had welcomed 70 Republican and Democratic members of Congress "with open arms," and that "there's not a state in the world that respects the United States and the US Congress more than the state of Israel."

The decision was announced shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted that it would "show great weakness" to allow the congresswomen in.

Trump also claimed that the pair "hate Israel and all Jewish people".

Tlaib and Omar are outspoken critics of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, and have been the subject of repeated attacks by Trump in recent weeks, including a series of racist tweets last month.