(CNSNews.com) -- In a statement released today, David M. Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, explained that it is right and justifiable for Israel to deny entry to a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) delegation led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) because the BDS movement seeks to "destroy the Jewish State," and both Tlaib and Omar "vigorously support" BDS.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early on Thursday said, “As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to all its critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel." Tlaib and Omar support the international boycott of Israel facilitated by the BDS movement.
In his statement, U.S. Ambassador Friedman said, "The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is not free speech. Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State.
"Israel properly has enacted laws to bar entry of BDS activists under the circumstances present here, and it has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons.
"Initially, Israel had indicated that it would accept the Tlaib/Omar Delegation, and use their visit as an opportunity to engage with and educate the delegation members with regard to Israel’s vibrant and robust democracy, its religious tolerance and its ethnic diversity.
"Unfortunately, the itinerary of the Tlaib/Omar Delegation leaves no room for that opportunity.
"In contrast to the nearly 70 freshmen members of Congress who just recently completed, or who are currently pursuing, a balanced visit to Israel that includes meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Tlaib/Omar Delegation has limited its exposure to tours organized by the most strident of BDS activists. This trip, pure and simple, is nothing more than an effort to fuel the BDS engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously supportive." (Emphasis added.)
"Like the United States, Israel is a nation of laws," said Friedman. "We support Israel’s application of its laws in this case."
In an Aug. 15 tweet, President Donald Trump said, "It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!"
He also tweeted, "Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!"