Joe Biden on travel bans, then and now

Joe Biden has weighed in on the controversy over the nixing by Israel of a planned visit by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Biden tweeted:

I have always been a stalwart supporter of Israel—a vital partner that shares our democratic values. No democracy should deny entry to visitors based on the content of their ideas—even ideas they strongly object to. And no leader of the free world should encourage them to do so.

Ordinarily, this would be true. But if the “idea” in question is that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state, and if the “visitors” intend to use the visit to promote a boycott that severely threatens Isreal’s well-being, then any self-respecting democracy would have to consider keeping the visitors out.

The two are banned, not so much for their ideas (they would be permitted in despite their support for a boycott if they agreed not to promote a boycott while in Israel) as for their planned actions.

Moreover, as Ben Shapiro reminds us (and Biden), the Obama administration made a decision similar to Israel’s back in 2012. At that time, it banned a member of the Israeli Knesset from entering the U.S. because of his ideas.

The Knesset member was Michael Ben Ari. His idea was that Arabs shouldn’t be living in Israel and shouldn’t be allowed to vote in Israeli elections.

Like Omar and Tlaib, Ben Ari was a duly elected member his nation’s legislature. Yet, the Obama administration barred him from the U.S. Vice President Biden appears to have voiced no objection.

Ben Ari’s political party had been deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State. This was the legal hook used to deny him entry.

The Democratic party is not a terrorist organization. However, Israel has a legal hook for excluding Omar and Tlaib — a law barring the entry of those working to harm Israel through a boycott.

Moreover, although Omar and Tlaib aren’t members of a terrorist political party, the group sponsoring their visit supports, indeed celebrates, terrorism. It has also expressed vile anti-Semitic views, including the “blood libel.”

In any event, this much is clear. Biden had no problem with banning visitors based on the content of their ideas when the ideas were anti-Arab. Now, when the ideas in question are anti-Israeli, he suddenly has a problem with a ban on visitors.