(New York, NY)—Israel today declared it would deny entry to Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar just hours after President Trump urged the Israeli government to do so. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

“The Israeli and U.S. governments ought to be ashamed, yet it seems shame is in short supply these days. Both governments are taking part in an effort to block the free movement of two U.S. lawmakers based solely on things they’ve said. It’s obvious retaliation based on viewpoint, and it’s intolerable. And for Donald Trump to Tweet about barring entry to two women who represent the American people is reprehensibly petty. At PEN America, while supporting and defending the right to boycott, we have a long-standing policy of opposition to cultural and academic boycotts of all kinds, including those directed at Israel. For two democracies to promote a ban on the travel of individuals based solely on their speech betrays the principle of open expression, and will impair dialogue and mutual understanding at a time when both are sorely needed.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892