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US House leaders back Netanyahu’s decision to let Tlaib and Omar enter Israel

August 12, 2019 at 10:48 am

Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib (L) and Somali-born American Ilhan Omar are set to become the first Muslims in Congress [Rashida Tlaib/Twitter]

US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Sunday dismissed assertions that support for Israel is waning among members of his Democratic Party, reports Haaretz.

Speaking in Jerusalem, he noted that an overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress recently voted in favor of a resolution condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

“The central reality is that there is extraordinary unity on issues that Israel is very concerned about,” said Hoyer. “The alliance between our two countries has been strong and unbending since May of 1948 [when Israel gained its independence], and it remains such.”

READ: Israel group works to block Ilhan Omar visit

Hoyer is heading a delegation of 41 Democratic members of the House of Representatives — the vast majority of them newly elected — that arrived in Israel last week. He was joined several days ago by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is heading a delegation of 31 representatives from his Republican Party.

Both trips were organized and sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an independent, bipartisan nonprofit that is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

At a joint press conference, both leaders were asked to comment on a report this weekend that US President Donald Trump was disappointed that Israel had agreed to allow two freshman Democrats, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — both supporters of the BDS movement — to visit Israel and the West Bank in coming weeks.

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian US congresswoman - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian US congresswoman – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“I do not know that the president was unhappy; I speak to him everyday,” said McCarthy, responding to an Axios story alleging that Trump told advisers that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should use Israel’s anti-boycott law to bar Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel. The Republican leader said he favored allowing the two congresswomen to visit, despite their views.

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