Trump’s Incitement Against Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib Is Dangerous
Are we turning into a nation where we get to pick and choose who is worthy of entry?
Shortly after President Donald Trump urged Israel not to let them in, the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that his country would block entry to Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Trump tweeted just before the announcement that allowing the two lawmakers to enter would amount to “great weakness.” The lawmakers, who are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, are among Trump’s most vocal political rivals and have been the subject of racist and misogynist attacks by the president. They had planned to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and Jerusalem on the weekend.
The news was chilling, and unprecedented, on many levels. It was the first time a U.S. president urged another country to bar entry to representatives of one of the three branches of the U.S. government. Such a move represents a green light — not that they need any — to authoritarians around the world that such incitement is a legitimate way to silence and punish political rivals.
“They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds … They are a disgrace!” Trump wrote on Twitter. This is the same president who has over the past few months repeatedly goaded and criticized Omar and Tlaib and two other congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley — who belong to the progressive branch of the Democratic party.
According to Reuters News Agency, Israel had initially chosen to allow the congresswomen’s visit. The news agency quoted a source who took part in consultations between Netanyahu with cabinet members and advisers revisiting the decision as saying that Israel backtracked because of pressure from Trump.
In 2017, in a move critics condemned as anti-democratic and anti-free speech, Israel passed a law allowing the government to deport people who support the pro-Palestinian…