Schneider Statement on Prime Minister Netanyahu Denying Entry to Israel to Two Members of Congress

August 15, 2019
Press Release

U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) issued the below statement following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to block the entry of U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) to Israel:

“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reverse policy and deny entry to Israel for Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—to effectively boycott two Members of Congress—is both shortsighted and wrong.  It violates the promise made just last month by Israel’s Ambassador Dermer that ‘out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.’ 

“As a life-long supporter Israel and a strong US-Israel relationship, I could not disagree more with the positions of Representatives Tlaib and Omar with respect to Israel.  I have publicly criticized and challenged their misguided statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and condemned their words when they included antisemitic tropes.

“I was also proud to be the lead sponsor of last month’s H.Res 246 reaffirming Congress’s support for the security of Israel and condemning the Global BDS Movement. Since the founding of the State of Israel more than 70 years ago, the United States has remained fully committed to three principles: Israel’s security, Israel’s legitimacy, and Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state.  Congress has stood steadfastly against challenges to all three, because we believe they are right and they serve U.S. interests. The fact that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H. Res 246 with the bipartisan support of 95 percent of our members reaffirms our nation's continued, unwavering commitment to these three ideals. 

“Furthermore, I respect Israel’s right to control who enters the country, and its responsibility to defend against the unceasing efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. 

“However, I fear the decision to block Representatives Tlaib and Omar will not protect Israel but rather will amplify Tlaib’s and Omar’s positions and increase support for the Global BDS Movement. It will provide a false, negative narrative of Israel as weak and fearful—a misperception that enemies of Israel will most certainly seek to exploit. 

“I just returned from visiting Israel with the largest Congressional delegation ever to visit the Jewish state. We experienced the nation’s vibrancy and studied the nuances of Israel’s history, present and future, including its security challenges in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the Lebanon and Syrian borders. I have no doubt that all left with a better understanding of the situation on the ground and that bipartisan Congressional support for the U.S.-Israel was strengthened by our experience.

“I join with many of my colleagues in calling for Prime Minister Netanyahu to reverse this decision, and as was promised by Ambassador Dermer, ensure that any Member of Congress who desires to visit Israel is permitted entry with all due respect.”