Conference of Presidents Statement on Israel's Barring of Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar

New York, NY

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations held a conference call this afternoon with Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, and representatives of the Conference’s fifty-three member organizations. The ramifications of the Israeli government decision to bar Congresswoman Tlaib and Congresswoman Omar from entering Israel were discussed at length. Concerns were expressed by numerous leaders about the implications of the decision and how it is perceived, while acknowledging the extreme anti-Israel rhetoric and actions of the congresswomen. The Ambassador discussed the right of countries to bar people considered hostile to their security or interests, and cited examples from the US and other democracies around the world. Many of the organizations expressed disagreement with the government’s decision and expressed concern that it will be exploited by pro-BDS and other critics of Israel, while several others expressed support.

We have expressed our reservations about the ramifications of the decision. Ultimately, the government of Israel made its assessment of the countervailing arguments and acted upon their conclusion. Many members of Congress who have expressed differences with Israeli policies have been welcomed there and have accepted the opportunity to explore all of the issues openly and frankly. In contrast, Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib had no such intention and made clear that their self-proclaimed “trip to Palestine” was intended to promote their anti-Israel agenda and clearly demonstrated a lack of interest in dialogue or true fact finding.

Our hope is that bipartisan support demonstrated by the recent trips of members of Congress to Israel and the passage by overwhelming majorities of pro-Israel measures will continue unabated and bipartisan support for the US-Israel special relationship will be strengthened. We will continue to make our views known to American and Israeli interlocutors. The bonds between the two countries are vital to both, especially as they face common enemies who have pledged to destroy them.

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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