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Mainstream Media Pounces on News that Israel Barred Omar, Tlaib from Entering the Country

Israel announced today that it would bar two American congresswomen from entering the country due to their travel itinerary and past statements about the Israeli government.

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) were banned from entering the country, which came after President Donald Trump pressured the country’s officials to issue the ban. The president tweeted, “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!”

The reason behind the ban was that both congresswomen support the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement against the Israeli government. The movement encourages lawmakers, academics, and others to boycott any entity or company that is associated with the Israeli government. The Israeli interior ministry has the final say on who can enter the country, according to an Israeli law about barring pro-boycott advocates from entering the country.

However, the coverage of the news differed from network to network. ABC News’s article [2] on the controversy did not mention Tlaib’s comments about the Holocaust and how she felt a “calming feeling” [3] about it during a podcast interview. Those comments were roundly condemned by the Jewish community and its leaders and she said they were taken out of context. ABC News also did not mention how the two lawmakers refused to be escorted by Israeli security in their visit to the Temple Mount even though that is standard operating procedure at the Temple Mount.

CBS News’s article missed the same points that ABC News did, but did add more information about Tlaib’s pro-boycott views. CBS News noted Tlaib called Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “racist” in a speech last month.

CNN [4] was the more accurate of the three networks, but did not include Tlaib’s Holocaust comments. It did include the security arrangements for the Temple Mount, which ABC News and CBS News did not mention, and also pointed out how the two congresswomen did not plan on meeting with Israeli government officials. Instead, they planned to meet with peace activists and human rights organizations, to which the former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said he would welcome them if they would “listen and learn.”