U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in a statement on Thursday that the United States “supports and respects” Israel’s decision to deny entry to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)
“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is not free speech. Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish state,” said the statement.
Friedman stated that Israel “has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons.”
Israel blocked entry to the congresswomen earlier on Thursday.
Friedman pointed out that the itinerary of the Tlaib and Omar leaves no doubt as to their motives. “In contrast to the nearly 70 freshmen members of Congress who just recently completed, or who are currently pursuing, a balanced visit to Israel that includes meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Tlaib-Omar delegation has limited its exposure to tours organized by the most strident of BDS activists.”
He went on to add, “This trip, pure and simple, is nothing more than an effort to fuel the BDS engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support.”