United States congresswoman Ayanna Pressley has slammed Israel's decision to bar entry to fellow representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, saying that the US should "reevaluate its relationship with Israel as a result.
"When you attack one of us, you attack all of us," Pressley said in a statement.
"They are duly elected members of Congress and we cannot allow them to be marginalized, discriminated against, nor targeted because of their gender, their religious beliefs, nor their ethnicity," Pressley said.
"That is not who we are as a country and we should reevaluate our relationships with any country who seeks to ban Americans and threatens the safety of anyone, including government officials."
The announcement by Israeli authorities came after US President Donald Trump had tweeted that it would "show great weakness" to allow Tlaib and Omar to visit.
It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
Trump also claimed that the two congresswomen "hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds".
Israel's official reason for denying entry to Tlaib and Omar is the pair's support for a Palestinian-led boycott movement, designed to pressure Israel to end its violations of international law.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement he decided not to allow Tlaib and Omar to enter because of "their boycott activities against Israel". Israel has a law which permits any international to be banned from entering who "knowingly issues a call for boycotting Israel".
Even pro-Israel organisations have felt compelled to respond critically to Israel's decision, with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tweeting that "every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand".
The Boston Herald reported that Nahma Nadich, acting executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, said in a statement: "We are concerned that preventing members of Congress from visiting the State of Israel will weaken the bond between these two great allies and will tear at the fabric of the bi-partisan relationship that Congress has with Israel".