Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have sharply criticised Israel for denying them entry to the Jewish state and called on fellow members of Congress to visit while they cannot.
Omar, of Minnesota, said President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were trying to hide ‘the cruel reality of the occupation from us’.
“I would encourage my colleagues to visit, meet with the people we were going to meet with, see the things we were going to see, hear the stories we were going to hear,” Omar said at a news conference.
At Trump’s urging, Israel denied entry to the first two Muslim women elected to Congress over their support for a Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions global movement.
Supporters say the movement is a nonviolent way of protesting Israel’s military rule over Palestinians, but Israel says it aims to de-legitimise the state and eventually wipe it off the map.
Tlaib, a US-born Palestinian-American from Michigan, had also planned to visit her ageing grandmother in the West Bank. Israeli officials later relented and said she could visit her grandmother after all.
But Tlaib got emotional as she described how her grandmother had urged her not to come under what they considered such humiliating circumstances.