Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Harrison), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, made the following statement this morning on the decision by the Israeli government to ban U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country on an upcoming official trip.
“I am saddened by the Israeli government’s decision to bar two sitting Members of Congress from entering Israel, especially following Ambassador Dermer’s public announcement that both women would be allowed to enter just a short time ago.
On Thursday, The New York Times reported: “President Trump called for Israel to bar the entry of two American congresswomen who had planned to visit the West Bank, taking an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home…. He said in a Twitter post while Israeli officials were still deliberating the matter that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”
“Members of Congress frequently disagree on policy solutions, just as members of Israel’s Knesset do. Democracies are marked by the ability to express opposing views. By blocking entry by these representatives, the Israeli government is missing an opportunity for engagement in dialogue with those they disagree with, instead empowering those who seek to create a wedge between our two countries,” Congresswoman Lowey said.
“This decision does nothing to further the U.S.-Israel relationship, and I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider, Lowey concluded.”