US Representative Ilhan Omar has declared that she will boycott the speech of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to a joint session of Congress next week, citing the Israeli ban on her and another lawmaker from visiting the country in 2019.
Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota and a vocal critic of the Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, said on Twitter that she would not attend the address of Herzog, who is also set to meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House.
Omar accused Herzog of representing “the most right-wing government in Israel’s history” and of undermining the prospects of peace and a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
She also slammed some of the Israeli far-right ministers for attacking Biden and for pushing for a “judicial coup” to centralize power and weaken the rule of law.
Omar also condemned the Israeli recent deadly raid on Jenin in the occupied West Bank, which killed 12 Palestinians, including four children, and destroyed most of the Jenin Refugee Camp.
She said that the US should use its diplomatic tools to engage with the Israeli occupation and hold it accountable for its human rights violations, especially given the nearly $4 billion in annual military aid that Washington provides to Tel Aviv.
Omar said that she had previously opposed the invitation for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address Congress because of his government’s record on human rights, and that she would do the same for Herzog.
Herzog is expected to deliver his speech on Wednesday to mark the 75th anniversary the Israeli occupation to Palestine.
He is likely to face a divided Congress, where US lawmakers have called for more pressure on the Israeli occupation to end its occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.