Ilhan Omar Should Be Banned From Entering Israel for Supporting Pro-Palestinian Boycott, NGO Says Ahead of Congresswoman's Visit

An Israeli NGO is seeking to have Rep. Ilhan Omar barred from entering the country over her support of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, otherwise known as BDS.

According to The Times of Israel, the Shurat HaDin organization has asked the Jerusalem District Court to order the country's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to deny Omar entry to Israel ahead of her scheduled trip to the country this month.

Shurat HaDin—a civil rights group that represents victims of terrorism and advocates for Jewish and Israeli causes—is pressuring the government to block Omar from entering the country, using a controversial 2017 law that allows the state to ban any foreigner from entering the country who "knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel."

Last month, Omar—who has been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes in her criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government—introduced a bill backing Americans' "right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights."

The bill, which prompted outrage among pro-Israel lawmakers, was co-sponsored by Palestinian-American Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib—who along with Omar is a member of the progressive "Squad" of Democratic congresswoman of color—and civil rights veteran Rep. John Lewis. Tlaib is scheduled to accompany Omar on her visit to Israel.

The bill is part of the evidence supplied by Shuran HaDin to support its proposal. The group is also citing a tweet from President Donald Trump, calling on both Omar and Tlaib to apologize to Israel for "horrible statements" about the country. The tweet was part of his extended attack on the Squad, which including his suggestion they "go back" to their countries of origin, though three of the four women were born in the U.S. and all are American citizens.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an attorney and the founder of Shuran HaDin, said the Israeli government should serve as a "role model" for opponents of the BDS movement worldwide. This includes students in the U.S. and elsewhere, who the government has asked to stand up to BDS activists on their campuses.

"Israel shouldn't let others, including young students, fight this battle for it, and in contrast surrender to the phenomenon here in Israel due to the prestige and status of certain important BDS activists," Darshan-Leitner said.

But Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, has already said that Omar and Tlaib will be allowed to enter the country. Dermer said Israel will grant women entry "out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America."

Correction: This article previously referred to Rep. Rashida Tlaib as a congresswoman from Minnesota. This has now been corrected to reflect the fact that she is a Michigan representative.

Ilhan Omar, Israel, boycott, ban, NGO, trip
Rep. Ilhan Omar participates in a panel discussion during the Muslim Collective For Equitable Democracy Conference and Presidential Forum at the The National Housing Center July 23, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty