Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Ocasio-Cortez Says She Won’t Go To Israel Until Omar, Tlaib Are Allowed Too

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Thursday that she would not travel to Israel in protest of the country’s decision to bar fellow Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entry.

“Netanyahu’s discriminatory decision to ban members of Congress from Israel harms int’l diplomacy,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Visiting Israel & Palestine are key experiences towards a path to peace. Sadly, I cannot move forward w scheduling any visits to Israel until all members of Congress are allowed.”

Israel announced Thursday that they were invoking a law allowing them to ban supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Omar and Tlaib are the only two members of Congress who have said they personally support the campaign. But 14 other House Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, voted last month against a symbolic resolution condemning BDS, and Ocasio-Cortez is a co-sponsor of Omar’s competing resolution defending Americans’ right to boycott.

Ocasio-Cortez had been criticized by some Jewish groups during her primary campaign for saying that the Israeli army’s killing of Palestinians trying to breach the Gaza border was a “massacre.” Soon after her upset primary victory, she promised in a PBS interview to “learn and evolve on this issue.”

In December, her office told the Forward that she had “no plans” to go to Israel or anywhere else in the world.

Congressional delegations to Israel and the West Bank, usually organized by the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, are common for new members of Congress. More than 40 House Democrats, many of them freshmen, participated in one such trip earlier this month.

Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib are all members of the so-called “Squad,” a group of first-term, progressive Democratic congresswomen of color who have been the subject of racist invective from President Trump.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.