Hindsight is always 20-20 and maybe in hindsight, Israel should have made a distinction between Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib, and should have approved the latter’s visit from day one. She has family in the West Bank and Israeli officials could have invited her to a meeting, which most likely she would have turned down and then the criticism would have been on her.
On the other hand, why would you welcome someone to your home if that person keeps telling you that your home is not yours and that you should get out of it? These are evil haters of Israel who support BDS and nothing positive could be expected from their planned trip to “Palestine.” They had the option of joining the large group of Democrats that came to Israel the previous week, and then they could have stayed a few more days to meet with whomever they wanted. That would have given them exposure to both sides, but their intentions to damage Israel were not hidden and they had no intention to meet with any Israeli official.. And therefore Israel, after weighing all options, chose to ban their visit and I am perfectly ok with that.
This planned visit by Ms Omar and Ms. Tlaib was a lose-lose situation for Israel and it is best for Israel not to give this issue more attention and soon it will blow over.
However, I would like to look ahead and consider the 2020 elections in the US. We know that polls are highly unreliable, but right now these polls show that there is a distinct possibility for Trump not to be re-elected and for a Democrat to move into the White House. Were this to be Elisabeth Warren or another left wing Democrat, this would negatively impact the US-Israel relationship. It was already remarkable that none of the announced Democrat Presidential candidates accepted to attend this year’s Aipac annual meeting.
As a Non-Israeli Jew, I tend to stay out of domestic Israeli politics, but the reality is that Democrats hold a grudge against Netanyahu, first for when he accepted to address the US Congress on the Iran agreement, without informing President Obama, and now for his close relationship with President Trump.
Without entering the debate whether or not Benjamin Netanyahu did and does the right things, we must accept the reality that his relationship with a Democrat President in 2021 would not be smooth, at least not at the beginning.
A few days ago I read in the TOI that Netanyahu is considering his current ambassador to the US or the current head of the Mossad as his possible successor as leader of the Likud. If Netanyahu remains Prime Minister after next month’s elections, maybe it is time for him to give this thought some more strength and gracefully bow out before 2021.