“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, said this as part of her statement after Israel announced that she and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, would not be allowed to enter the country. Subsequently, Ms. Tlaib was granted access to see her grandmother. She then declined to go.
Under Israeli law, supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel can be prevented from entering the country. Both members of Congress are supporters of BDS and outspoken critics of Israel.
Ironically, a bipartisan congressional delegation recently returned from a trip to Israel. Neither Rep. Omar nor Rep. Tlaib was on that trip. Instead, they planned to visit with an organization that is highly critical of Israel.
A statement from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement), and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.” He is correct.
Miftah is an anti-Semitic group that has supported terrorism — including attempts to blow up innocent civilians and children. More than just supporting BDS, they support violence against Israeli citizens.
It is shocking that any American lawmaker would want to be associated with such a radical organization. But my guess is that they never planned on going to Israel in the first place. It is just another attempt to shift coverage away from their radical views.
The statement from the White House nailed it:
“Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have a well-documented history of anti-Semitic comments, anti-Semitic social media posts, and anti-Semitic relationships,” he said in a statement. “Israel has the right to prevent people who want to destroy it from entering the country — and Democrats’ pointless Congressional inquiries here in America cannot change the laws Israel has passed to protect itself.”
The ignorance on display was amazing — even for these two members of “the squad.”
First, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East (according to the Democracy Index). The Knesset is the unicameral national legislature of Israel. There have been both Jewish and Arab members of this body since the first elections in 1949.
Second, Israel protects freedom of religion. I was just there in June and I looked out over the Dome of the Rock and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque — which is the third holiest site in Islam. All over Israel, there are synagogues, churches and mosques.
Third, there is no such thing as a “Muslim Ban” in America. There is a travel ban on individuals from certain countries that are a threat to the United States.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion upholding the latest travel ban. In it, he mentioned that the language in the Immigration and Nationality Act was clear that the president has broad authority to suspend the entry of non-citizens in the country. He stated that President Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 9645 was within that authority.
Mr. Trump determined that people coming from some countries are detrimental because those countries do not share adequate information with the United States. Concerns about these countries were raised long before this administration. The rule focuses on legitimate national security risks.
As Chief Justice Roberts noted at the time, even though the travel ban applies to five (out of seven) countries with Muslim majority populations, “that fact alone does not support an inference of religious hostility.” He wrote that those five countries amount to only 8 percent of the global Muslim population.
The order is “expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing the entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and including other nations to improve their practices,” the Chief Justice wrote, “The text says nothing about religion.”
Lawyers for the government correctly argued that if the ban imposed a religious test, it “would be the most ineffective Muslim ban that one could imagine.” Instead, the facts show that it is a travel ban based on legitimate safety concerns.
Still, many in the media continue to repeat the false narrative. The inaccurate label appeared again during the past week as Rep. Omar railed against Israel.
It seems that many overlook her statements to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) earlier this year:
“CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
America is a free country and she can say what she wants to say. But the rest of us certainly do not have to agree with her. I believe we have a responsibility to correct her lies and counter her attacks — against our allies and our freedoms.
• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @ScottWalker.