(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) issued a statement on Thursday, after the government of Israel decided not to allow Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D.-Mich.) enter their country as a congressional delegation, saying that this was a “sign of weakness” by Israel.
“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” Pelosi said.
“I pray that the Government of Israel will reverse that denial,” she said.
In fact, the Israeli government later decided to let Rep. Rashida Tlaib enter the country to visit her grandmother after Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri stating that she would “not promote boycotts against Israel” during her visit. However, after the Israelis agreed to admit her, Tlaib decided not to go.
In a statement issued on Thursday (as reported by CBS News), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained why Israel had initially indicated it would deny entry to both Omar and Tlaib when they planned an official visit as members of Congress.
"As a free and vibrant democracy,” Netanyahu said, “Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel.”
"Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar,” he said, “are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress."
Here is the full text of Pelosi’s statement:
Pelosi Statement on Israel’s Decision to Block Members of Congress from Entering the Country
August 15, 2019
San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Government of Israel announced its decision to prevent Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country:
“As one who loves Israel, I am deeply saddened by the news that Israel has decided to prevent Members of Congress from entering the country.
“Last month, Israeli Ambassador Dermer stated that, ‘Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any Member of Congress into Israel.’ This is a sad reversal and is deeply disappointing. I pray that the Government of Israel will reverse that denial.
“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel. The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”