US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (right) and other lawmakers attend a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on May 9. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Recriminations Fly Over Israel Ban of US Legislators

Israel’s decision to deny entry into the country to two members of the US House of Representatives who are Muslim and who endorse the anti-Israel “BDS” movement continues to be the focal point of seemingly every discussion on every level of society: from elected leadership to taxi cab debates; from newspaper opinions to the topics on talk shows. Nearly everyone has suggestions of what Rep. Ilan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib “should have done,” most of which are delivered with unambiguous certainty. An unscientific reading of unsolicited comments that reached The Media Line reveals a preference for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to have invoked the ban, many pointing out that Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s original comment as to why it would not be proper to do so was correct in substance, pragmatically sound, and firmly ensconced on the moral high ground. Yet, many were adamant in expressing the belief that the state of Israel has no obligation to allow those who seek to harm its interests the privilege of using it as the platform for such behavior. Still others opined that throughout the brouhaha, Israel’s information infrastructure failed to communicate the threat and clearly describe the danger to the nation that makes banning the pair the proper option notwithstanding the inevitable criticism and allegations of anti-democratic behavior that were bound to follow.

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