(JTA) — Rep. Ilhan Omar likened Israel’s decision to deny entry to her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib to what she called President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.”
Tlaib, D-Mich., tweeted that the decision is “a sign of weakness.”
Omar in a statement Thursday called Israel’s decision “an affront.”
“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress,” the Minnesota Democrat said, referring to the president’s executive orders to restrict entry to citizens of certain predominantly Muslim countries.
Tlaib responded to the news on Twitter by posting a picture of her grandmother and criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity,” Tlaib wrote. “I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”
Earlier Thursday, Israel confirmed that it would not allow the two congresswomen to enter as part of their visit planned for Sunday.
Omar and Tlaib are both supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. Under Israeli law, BDS supporters can be prevented from entering the country.
Omar continued: “The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”
Israel’s decision came shortly after Trump wrote on Twitter that Israel “would show great weakness” if it let in the two freshman lawmakers.
Israel’s envoy to Washington, Ron Dermer, said last month that the country would not deny entry to any member of Congress.
The president has repeatedly attacked a group of four congresswomen of color — Tlaib, Omar, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley D-Mass. — at times invoking rhetoric widely described as racist.
Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley came to Omar and Tlaib’s defense.
“MoC are frequently asked to visit Israel to ‘see things for ourselves.’ But Netanyahu choosing to ban the only 2 Muslim women in Congress from entering tells the US that only *some* Americans are welcome to Israel, not all,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet.
Pressley tweeted that the ban is “bigoted, short sighted and cruel.”