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Weekend Review: Israel Bar U.S. Reps. Omar and Tlaib

Tlaib

Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., right, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. (Photo credit/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Posted: August 19, 2019 at 5:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from travel to the country following a tweet from Pres. Trump. 

Trump wrote, “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.”

Netanyahu then announced the ban the same day, claiming the visit was only designed to “strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”

However, those who helped plan the trip claim the women were prohibited from entering the country on a discriminatory basis related to their political views and ethnicity. Both Omar and Tlaib have been vocal critics of the Trump administration and the Israeli government. 

In response to the ban, Omar tweeted, “It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.”

Tlaib, who is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was later granted requested permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank but decided against it. She tweeted, “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

Tlaib later claimed in a statement from her office that Israel would only allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother if she signed a letter which was designed to censor her. She stated, “Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me — it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri claimed via tweet that Tlaib only asked to visit as a “provocative request, aimed at bashing the state of Israel.” He added that Tlaib’s “hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” before tagging Pres. Trump. 

Jeffrey Epstein Death Ruled As Suicide

In a statement released Friday morning, the office of New York City’s chief medical examiner announced that Jeffrey Epstein’s death in the Metropolitan Correctional Center was a suicide by hanging. 

The 66-year-old financier was found unresponsive in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10 and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

He was being held to await trial on charges of sex trafficking involving minors and his death raised suspicions among many who believed he was murdered to prevent him from releasing information regarding many powerful people. 

The announcement confirmed preliminary findings from the medical examiner which were released in the days after Epstein’s death. The autopsy revealed that a neck bone was broken, a detail which further contributed to theories that foul play was involved though experts concluded it did not prove murder. 

Epstein’s lawyers are reportedly unsatisfied with the results and will conduct a private investigation. They specifically seek any video of the area around and outside Epstein’s cell at the time of his death.

An unnamed Justice Department official alleged to The Associated Press that witnesses who work at the prison are believed to have relevant information but are not cooperating with the investigation. 

Their hesitance may come in part because there are indications the prison staff failed to properly monitor Epstein. Two guards from the unit where the accused pedophile was being housed are accused of forging logs to make it appear as though they had been checking on him every half an hour, though they had not been. 

The prison is now being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for “serious irregularities,” according to U.S. Attorney General William Barr.  

Attention on Epstein’s case will likely now turn to those who also allegedly engaged and assisted in human sex trafficking and sexual abuse of minors, specifically the team of people who recruited underage victims for Epstein by arranging massages that would lead to sexual activity.

However, those who helped plan the trip claim the women were prohibited from entering the country on a discriminatory basis related to their political views and ethnicity. Both Omar and Tlaib have been vocal critics of the Trump administration and the Israeli government. 

In response to the ban, Omar tweeted, “It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.”

Tlaib, who is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was later granted requested permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank but decided against it. She tweeted, “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

Tlaib later claimed in a statement from her office that Israel would only allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother if she signed a letter which was designed to censor her. She stated, “Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me — it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri claimed via tweet that Tlaib only asked to visit as a “provocative request, aimed at bashing the state of Israel.” He added that Tlaib’s “hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” before tagging Pres. Trump. 

New China Tariffs Postponed

The Trump administration has decided to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports — this time on popular electronic items. The 10% tariffs will be postponed until December and Pres. Trump claimed they “won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season” in America. 

Sources familiar with the matter claimed that advisers told the president the postponement was necessary because the new tariffs would effectively ruin Christmas as a retail holiday. 

Trump claimed the decision came after a productive telephone call with Chinese officials led him to believe “they want to do something” to end the ongoing trade war.  

Many experts fear the U.S. is headed for impending recession and Trump’s trade war will only bring that end sooner, even with this delay in tariffs. Trump is reportedly desperate to find a way to keep these speculations from influencing voters before next year’s election, as he is making the economy — minus the possibility of a collapse — a focus of his re-election campaign.

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