STATEMENT: Gottheimer Statement on Israel’s Announced Ban on Members of Congress
Those who truly believe in the historic, bipartisan U.S.-Israel relationship, as I do, want others to visit Israel and learn about our historic, strategic alliance and to experience the realities of daily life in the region.
By visiting Israel, members of Congress can see for themselves the robust economic and national security cooperation between our two countries, tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, meet with members of Israel’s government and civil society devoted to peacebuilding and coexistence with Palestinians, and better appreciate Israel’s regional environment and proximity to terrorist groups and other threats.
I have been vocal about my strong disagreement with some of my colleagues about the U.S.-Israel relationship, and of their use of anti-Semitic tropes. However, refusing entry to members of the U.S. Congress, regardless of their views and misguided, planned itinerary, is a serious, strategic mistake — just as it was wrong for Palestinian Authority President Abbas to refuse to meet with House Republicans visiting the region. I have also spoken with Ambassador Dermer about this decision, which, in my view, only distracts from defending Israel from real threats and clear instances of bias and double standards.