Jewish Dems Urge Israel Not to Bar Congresswomen From Visiting

August 15, 2019

WASHINGTON–The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) urged the Israeli government to permit Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to visit Israel. JDCA Executive Director Halie Soifer said the following:

“As strong supporters of Israel and of the U.S.-Israel relationship, we urge the government of Israel to reject President Trump’s unprecedented and ill-advised recommendation to deny Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) entry into Israel. Banning members of Congress from visiting Israel, where they can see facts on the ground with their own eyes, is counterproductive and plays into Trump’s goal of politicizing support for Israel.

“Less than a month ago, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said that, ‘out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.’ He was right, and Prime Minister Netanyahu should not reverse this decision at the urging of President Trump.

“Once again, President Trump has inappropriately interfered in Israel’s democracy, to the detriment of the U.S.-Israel relationship. The best way to fight falsehoods about Israel is with truth, and the best way to refute charges that Israel is anti-democratic is uphold democratic principles. Moreover, the best way to deepen an understanding of the complex dynamics surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is for individuals to visit. These are the opportunities Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Israel would provide.

“Preventing members of Congress from visiting Israel is effectively forcing them to boycott. This is unwise and counterproductive. Certainly, it is not the way to fight the global BDS movement, which we strongly oppose.”