One of the House Representatives denied entry into Israel earlier this month says Congress should re-assess the billions of dollars the U.S. gives to the country each year.
“We give Israel more than $3 [billion] in aid every year. This is predicated on them being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East,” Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, said at a press conference held at the Minnesota State Capitol Building with Palestinian-American and Jewish-American residents who said they, too, had been affected by travel restrictions to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“But denying a visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally, and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy.”
She added: “We must be asking, as Israel’s ally, that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian lands and ensure full rights for Palestinians if we are to give them aid.”
Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., were banned from entering Israel because the pair have voiced support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Under Israeli law, BDS backers can be denied entry into Israel.
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