Israel Policy Forum expresses its profound dismay with the decision of the Israeli government to deny Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to Israel later this week. 

Any sitting member of Congress, as an official representative of Israel’s closest ally and most critical source of international support, should be welcome to visit Israel.  Furthermore, while we take exception to many of the positions on Israel held by Omar and Tlaib, the best way to demonstrate to them that they should reconsider their positions is for them to see Israel and the challenges it faces firsthand. 

Denying them entry can only serve to harden their current views, along with delivering an insult to the U.S. Congress, furthering the politicization of support for Israel, and creating a dangerous precedent. 

Contrary to President Trump’s reckless tweet this morning, banning members of Congress critical of Israeli government policy from visiting the country is a sign of weakness, not strength.  For the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel to seek to score short-term political points at the expense of undermining the strength of the US-Israel alliance is short-sighted, irresponsible, dangerous, and ultimately damaging to Israel’s security. 

We strongly urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to reconsider and President Trump to cease risking Israel’s security in service of a partisan political agenda.