• Rabbi Moshe Rothchild

Rejection! Did Israel do the right thing?


Last week, Israel announced that it would bar Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel.


Here are the facts of how it all went down, after which I will give you my opinion.


1. Congresswomen Rashid Tlaib and Ilhan Omar announced that they will be visiting Israel/Palestine

2. Israel has a law which gives her the right to bar those who promote BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) of Israel. Tlaib and Omar promoted BDS.

3. Israel’s Ambassador to the USA, Ron Dermer announces that despite the law, they would be allowed to visit Israel.

4. President Trump opposed Israel allowing them in and tweeted such.

5. The itinerary of the Congresswomen was finalized and released.

6. Israel reconsidered and decided to enforce the law and bar entry to Omar and Tlaib

7. Many people’s heads exploded.


That is pretty much how it went down. The million-dollar question: Did Israel do the right thing?


Here is what I think:


Israel ABSOLUTELY did the right thing.


Last week, 41 Democratic congressmen visited Israel. Why did Omar and Tlaib not join them? They would have been welcomed with open arms as were the others. The reason they did not join was because they were not interested in going to Israel and to learn about the facts on the ground. They were not interested in promoting peace. Their trip was to promote BDS and weaken Israel in the US and the world over.


Their itinerary had them visiting Palestine (a mythical place). They were not scheduled to meet with Israeli officials. When politicians from allied nations visit, they do so to promote solidarity and friendship. This trip was anything but that. While Israel is undoubtedly a democracy, it is under no obligation to host those who seek to undermine her very existence as a State. The BDS movement has called for the end of the Jewish State. This is not some liberal, human rights organization.


Why in the world does anyone think that they can work to boycott Israel and at the same time expect Israel to welcome you?


There is NO DOUBT that Hamas and the PA would have lined up some bogus photo ops to demonstrate how horrible Israel is. The PR mess that Israel would face after a visit by Tlaib and Omar would be 100 times worse than the bad PR Israel is getting from barring their entry.


Israel was faced with a lose-lose situation. They chose the better of the two options.


Many are saying that Israel has demonstrated weakness by banning them. Couldn’t disagree more! This is a strong move by Israel. Doing what is right is not always popular and what’s popular is not always right. Isn’t that what we teach our kids?

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