Facing racially charged attacks by the U.S. president, two U.S. congresswomen on Friday saw a show of support extended by an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset.
In twin letters to Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib posted on Twitter, and quoted by daily of Haaretz, parliamentarian Aida Touma-Sliman expressed “appreciation for your tireless work on behalf of the Palestinian people” and “in light of President Trump’s recent attacks.”
Touma-Sliman added that she would do her best to ensure that the duo can visit Palestine in the face of Israel possibly blocking them due to their support for the Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Trump kicked off a firestorm on Sunday when, using a racial slur, he told a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen on Twitter to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested” countries they come from.
It was later confirmed that he was referring to freshmen Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.
“When I read of President Trump’s vicious attacks, I was struck by the similarity between his racist incitement and that practiced by his close ally, [Israeli] PM Benjamin Netanyahu,” said Touma-Sliman’s letters to Omar and Tlaib.
She committed to do “whatever is in our power” to enable the two congresswomen’s announced visit to the Palestinian territories, proposing in her letters to the congresswomen to meet with “people who are fighting for peace and freedom from within Israel – Palestinians and Jews alike.”
She also proposed to share with the two congresswomen “perspective on the occupation, on the discrimination faced by Palestinian citizens within Israel, and on the particular challenges facing Palestinian women.”
Both Omar and Tlaib have announced their intention to visit the Palestinian territories soon, without specifying a date.
Netanyahu said on Thursday he will decide whether he will allow Omar and Tliab to enter through Israeli border crossings or not.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry, however, warned that blocking the two congresswomen “would harm Israel’s foreign relations,” according to Israeli daily Haaretz.
The BDS movement, formed in 2005 by 170 Palestinian civil society and rights groups, calls for a boycott of Israeli companies involved in violating Palestinian human rights and for institutions to withdraw investments in those companies as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel.