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Trump and Netanyahu Just Broke the Special Relationship Between America and Israel

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The historically deep ties that bind the United States and Israel were profoundly damaged Thursday when the government of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu succumbed to pressure from the Trump Administration and barred two members of the United States Congress, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, from entering Israel.

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While the special relationship between our two countries has withstood political upheaval, wars and the ebb and flow of geopolitics, it has seldom been challenged as it has been by this reckless and contemptible act of the wannabe authoritarian tag-team of Netanyahu and Trump.

>> Read more: Nixing Tlaib and Omar visit, Netanyahu harms Israel to assuage Trump’s ego | Analysis ■ AIPAC, pro-Israel U.S. lawmakers rebuke Netanyahu over Omar-Tlaib banIn the Tlaib-Omar saga, all the politicians are winners | Analysis

According to Netanyahu, defending his decision, barring the entry of Representatives Omar of Minnesota and Tlaib of Michigan was defensible because in his words, "Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in the U.S. Congress."

He went on to say, "The two-member congressional visitation plan shows that there intent is to hurt Israel and to increase its unrest against it."

Originally, the Israeli government had determined to allow in the two congresswomen. But President Donald Trump pressured Netanyahu not to do so as an extension of his attacks on Omar and Tlaib, colleagues of theirs and, since the beginning of his administration against Muslims and people of color.

It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.

My full statement: pic.twitter.com/v00ESmehXT

Make no mistake about it, while Trump’s motivation was in part political, it was also motivated by the racist animus that drives Trumpism in the U.S. and, as it happens, shapes the ethno-nationalist views of Netanyahu and his extreme-right wing supporters in Israel.

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© Haaretz