House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that both President Trump and the Israeli government debased their offices when they pushed back on plans by two freshman congresswomen critical of Israel to visit the Mideast ally.
“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great state of Israel,” Pelosi said in a press release.
She was responding to news that Israel had heeded Trump’s call to refuse Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., entry based on their past statements, which some critics have deemed anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.
“We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision,” Israel’s deputy foreign minister said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu similarly derided their planned visit as a way “to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”
Prior to Israel’s decision, Trump tweeted that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit.” “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds,” he added.
Pelosi’s colleague in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argued that Israel’s decision was, in fact, a sign of weakness.
“Denying entry to members of the United States Congress is a sign of weakness, not strength,” he said in a statement released on Thursday.
“It will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America. No democratic society should fear an open debate. Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”
Pelosi also responded to the president’s comments by claiming he’d acted in a way that was beneath the dignity of his high office.
“The president’s statements about the congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the office of the president,” she added.
Pelosi’s comments followed a pattern in which leading Democrats have expressed solidarity with the younger, more progressive lawmakers. Omar, Tlaib, and the rest of their “squad” previously clashed with Pelosi when she downplayed the amount of political power they had in her chamber.
But after another attack from Trump, Pelosi attempted to rally other Democrats behind the newbies and pushed a House resolution denouncing the president’s “racist” criticism.