Netanyahu: Israel Greatly Respects Congress but Can’t Tolerate BDS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the annual health conference in Tel Aviv on March 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The Times of Israel reports: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday defended Israel’s decision to bar Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country and said that the Israeli ambassador to the United States had said they would be allowed in before learning of their itinerary.

Netanyahu last week announced that Omar and Tlaib, freshman Democratic representatives respectively from Minnesota and Michigan who were planning to visit Jerusalem and the West Bank this week, would be banned from Israel under a 2017 law denying entry to supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).

The move was widely condemned by Jewish groups in the US and Democratic lawmakers, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Democrat-Maryland) saying the ban marked a reversal of Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s announcement in July that Tlaib and Omar would not be barred.

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