Israel’s imposed ban over two of the Democratic congresswomen’s visit to the country has been harshly criticized by Rep. Ilhan Omar. Despite US’ huge contribution in providing financial aid to Israel, the ban on congresswomen’s has been regarded as ungrateful of the Israeli government.
On Monday, the Minnesota representative, who has previously been criticized by the government on various occasions, claimed that that the US gives “more than $3 [billion] in aid to Israel every year” and thereby called for the government to reconsider the financial aid provided to them.
A week ago, the Israel government rejected the requests of Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to visit the country. Even though the decision was half revoked by Friday, when the Israeli government allowed Tlaib to visit her family in the occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds, the entire blacklisting became a huge issue.
However, Tlaib later rejected the offer to visit her grandmother. Recalling her family’s suffering in the territory during her previous visits, she focused on the inhuman treatment of individuals in Israel. She said, “As a young girl, visiting Palestine to see my grandparents, I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints — even though she was a United States citizen and proud American.”
Earlier, Omar and Tlaib widely supported the Boycott, Diversify and Sanctions movement in Israel. This is because of the unfair policies that the Israeli government continued in practice towards the Palestinians. Omar even brought a resolution in the House that affirmed “right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad”.
The boycott calls from Democratic congresswomen astonished the Israeli government, which has already been struggling with internal boycott calls from several Palestinian Campaigns. Furthermore, President Trump’s comments, which stated that “Israel would be displaying a sign of great weakness, while allowing the two congresswomen to enter the country”, encouraged the ban on the movement of these women to Israel.
Ilhan Omar, while criticizing the move during a news conference with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, said, “This is predicated on them being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East. But denying a visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally, and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy.”
Although the real question still remains, are the bans a protective measure taken by the Israeli government to hide the cruel reality of the country?