Tlaib and Omar hold press conference about scrapped Israel trip

Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are holding their first joint press conference since the Israeli government, citing the lawmakers’ support for boycotting Israel, barred the Muslim congresswomen from entering the country for a planned visit. 

The two progressive lawmakers are expected to begin their remarks in Minneapolis, which is in Omar’s congressional district, at 4 p.m. ET.

Last week, Tlaib and Omar, the first Muslim women to serve in Congress and two staunch critics of the current Israeli government, were preparing to travel to Israel to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and meet with activists there. But after being publicly pressured by President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government said it would not allow the two lawmakers to enter the country. 

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The Israeli government did offer to let Tlaib in on humanitarian grounds to visit her 90-year-old Palestinian grandmother on the condition that she did not promote a boycott of Israel. Tlaib initially agreed, but later rejected the offer, saying she would not make the visit under “oppressive conditions.” 

The decision by Netanyahu’s government to deny entry to two sitting members of Congress elicited withering criticism from Democrats, who said the move could damage the typical bipartisan support among U.S. lawmakers for Israel. 

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