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Hoyer Statement on Prime Minister Netanyahu's Decision to Deny Members of Congress from Entering Israel

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to deny Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar entry into Israel: 

“The decision of the Israeli government to deny entry to Israel by two Members of Congress is outrageous, regardless of their itinerary or their views.  This action is contrary to the statement and assurances to me by Israel’s ambassador to the United States that ‘out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any Member of Congress into Israel.’  That representation was not true.    “Israel is a strong and resilient nation.  It is a robust democracy with a wide divergence of views and opinions, as is the United States.  This action reflects weakness, not strength.  Instead, the Israeli government should seek to engage these Members of Congress in a dialogue regarding Israel’s security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.  When Members of Congress visit Israel, they gain a stronger appreciation for its unique challenges and the existential threats that endanger Israel’s survival as a Jewish, democratic state.   “The action the Israeli government has taken is wrong.  I urged Prime Minister Netanyahu, when I spoke to him yesterday, to allow Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar’s visit to go forward.  I call on the Prime Minster to reconsider this decision and ensure that all Members of Congress who wish to visit Israel and/or the West Bank will be received with the proper respect and recognition they are due.   “It is my understanding that discussions are taking place to ensure that Rep. Tlaib will at least be allowed to see her family, which I appreciate.  But I strongly oppose the Israeli government’s decision to block the full visit she had planned, a decision that was unwarranted and self-destructive.  I again urge that this action be reversed.”

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