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    Israel bars Democratic congresswomen from entering country

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    Israel bars Democratic congresswomen from entering country
    By Oren Liebermann, Abeer Salman and Michael Schwartz, CNN

    Updated 12:24 PM ET, Thu August 15, 2019
    Israel bars Reps. Tlaib and Omar from visiting the country
    (CNN)Israel announced Thursday it was barring the entry of two US congresswomen after Donald Trump encouraged the move, a remarkable step both by the US President and his ally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to punish political opponents.

    Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely told CNN on Thursday of Israel's decision to ban Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country. The announcement came shortly after Trump said Israel would be showing "great weakness" by allowing them to enter the country.
    "The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel," Netanyahu said in a statement following the decision.
    The intervention by Trump into Israel's decision-making was extraordinary enough. But the move by the Netanyahu's government lent the longstanding US-Israel alliance with a new partisan tinge and opened the door for fresh criticism.

    Trump has criticized the two lawmakers -- who are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress -- in harsh and sometimes racist terms. But his move to call for their ban in Israel reflects a new chapter in his grudge and a further erosion of presidential norms, which in the past sought to avoid instilling partisanship in foreign affairs.
    In considering the ban, Israel cited the congresswomen's support for a boycott against Israel.
    "The State of Israel respects the American Congress in the framework of the close alliance between the two countries, but it is unthinkable that an entry to Israel would be allowed to those who seek to damage the State of Israel, even during a visit," said Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in a statement. Under Israeli law, the interior minister is the one authorized to make a decision on barring entry.
    Deri said he made the decision with the support of Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.
    Israel's decision to deny entry to the two freshmen congresswomen amounted to a reversal of a position taken last month when Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said the two would be allowed to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories.
    "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," Dermer said at the time in widely reported comments. Dermer is considered one of those closest to Netanyahu.

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    DanEdge's Avatar
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    Re: Israel bars Democratic congresswomen from entering country

    This bothered me. Israel is supposed to be our ally. That's an affront to our country to disallow entry to any of our National Representatives on basis of their political views.

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