Freshman firebrand Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) held a press conference after being barred from entering the nation of Israel where the former accused President Donald Trump of making the Jewish and Muslim communities into “the Boogeyman.”
During a press conference in St. Paul, Minn., on Monday, Omar claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government denied “millions of people freedom of movement,” “expression,” and “self-determination” and that their actions in doing so were “not consistent with being a democracy.”
She also called for the Israeli government to “stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land” and for the Jewish state to “ensure full rights for Palestinians” for the U.S. to continue giving them aid.
“This is predicated on their 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. We must be asking, as Israel’s ally, the Netanyahu government stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land and ensure full rights for Palestinians, if we are to give them aid.”
She went on to claim that Trump “would love nothing more than to use” the decades-old conflict to “pit Muslims and Jewish-Americans against each other” and that the Trump administration was making the two communities into “the boogeyman.”
“The Muslim community and the Jewish community are being othered and made into the boogeyman by this administration,” said Omar.
Watch the press conference below:
Tlaib teared up as she recounted touring the region to see family as a child and said that she sought to “elevate” her grandmother’s “voice” by “exposing the truth” through the humanization of “the pain of oppression.”
“As a young girl visiting Palestine to see my grandparents and extended family, I’ve watched as my mother had to go through de-humanizing checkpoints even though she was a United States citizen and proud American. I was there when my [grandmother] was in a terrible car accident and my cousins and I cried so she could have access to the best hospitals, which were in Jerusalem.
[…] All I can do, as the granddaughter of a women who lives in occupied territories, [is] to elevate her voice by exposing the truth the only way I know how, as my Detroit public school teachers taught me: by humanizing the pain of oppression.”
She went on to accuse Netanyahu of taking “direction from Trump” to prevent the pair from entering the country.
As IJR News previously reported, the pair of Democratic lawmakers were banned from entering the Jewish state last Thursday ahead of their planned tour of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The ban came soon after President Donald Trump tweeted that Israel would be showing “great weakness” by allowing the two lawmakers to enter the country.
Both Omar and Tlaib have voiced their support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Under Israeli law, the Jewish state’s government may prevent those who support the BDS movement from entering the country.
Tlaib had been offered a humanitarian visit to see her grandmother after appealing to the Israeli government but turned down the trip claiming that the foreign government had imposed “oppressive conditions” on her.
Tlaib had previously written in her letter to the Israeli government that she would “respect any restrictions” they imposed on her during her visit to her 90-year-old grandmother.
Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri fired back at the Michigan Democrat for the refusal on Friday, claiming that Tlaib’s “hatred for Israel” outweighed “her love for her grandmother.”