Speaking to MSNBC this Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke out on the state of Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country, saying that the country shouldn’t receive billions of dollars in aid if they’re going bar U.S. members of Congress.
“I wish I could tell you…that I am shocked. I am not,” Sanders, who is also a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “We have a president who, tragically, is a racist, is a xenophobe, and who is a religious bigot.”
Sanders added that “the idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage.”
“And if Israel doesn’t want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what’s going on—and I’ve been there many, many times—but if he doesn’t want members to visit, maybe [Netanyahu] can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel,” he continued.
WATCH: Bernie Sanders on Israel’s decision to deny entrance to two elected U.S. officials: “If Israel doesn’t want members of the United States Congress to visit their country…maybe they can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel.” #inners pic.twitter.com/m48djEhZjU
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) August 16, 2019
As The New York Times reported this Friday, Israel reversed its decision on Tlaib, saying it would allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother who lives in the occupied West Bank. The country did not lift its ban on Omar, however.
But after receiving some criticism from pro-Palestinian groups, Tlaib said she wouldn’t be making the trip after all.
“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me,” Ms. Tlaib said of her grandmother in a Twitter post. “It would kill a piece of me.”
Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
From The New York Times:
The announcement from Israel appeared to be a second shift in position by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli Interior Ministry initially approved a planned official visit by Ms. Tlaib, of Michigan, and another Democratic lawmaker, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. But after a public objection by President Trump, it blocked them, citing their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri said that Tlaib’s reversal was proof that her intentions were “provocative” and “aimed at bashing the State of Israel.”
Featured image via screen grab