In response to the decision by the Israeli government to deny Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Representative Rashida Tlaib (D.-Mich.) permission to travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories, T’ruah Executive Director Rabbi Jill Jacobs issued the following statement:
This outrageous decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu is more evidence of the dangerous anti-democratic direction in which he and his party are leading Israel. Shutting out those who hold critical views of the government and its policies only damages Israel in the long run. A democracy does not block free speech. While T’ruah does not advocate for BDS or support the global BDS movement, we believe that engagement in non-violent protest should not be reason to be banned from Israel.
It is even more true that the Netanyahu government should not be denying entry to elected officials of Israel’s closest ally. And President Trump should under no circumstances be interfering with Israeli democracy, as he did on Twitter this morning.
Today’s decision was a cynical move by Prime Minister Netanyahu to advance his own re-election campaign by pandering to his right-wing base and to President Trump.
We stand with the Israeli Members of Knesset, and political and human rights leaders who have called for Netanyahu to reverse his decision, and support the right of Representatives Omar and Tlaib and every other Member of Congress to visit Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in order to educate themselves about the realities there.