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Rubio: Israel barring entry to Omar, Tlaib 'a mistake'

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal MORE (R-Fla.) broke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE on Thursday, calling Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan Omar'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Meet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far MORE (D-Minn.) from entering the nation “a mistake.”

“I disagree 100% with Reps. Tlaib & Omar on #Israel & am the author of the #AntiBDS bill we passed in the Senate,” Rubio tweeted, referencing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement backed by Omar and Tlaib, among others.

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“But denying them entry into #Israel is a mistake. Being blocked is what they really hoped for all along in order to bolster their attacks against the Jewish state,” he added.

Rubio's tweet came hours after Trump encouraged Israel to deny entry to Omar and Tlaib ahead of the lawmakers' scheduled visit to the country this weekend.

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Trump tweeted that it would show "great weakness" for Israel to let the U.S. congresswomen into the country. Israeli law bars entry for those who support boycotts of Israel.

Despite Trump’s support, lawmakers from both parties have been critical of Israel’s decision, including those who have publicly disagreed with Tlaib and Omar’s views on Israel, like Rubio.

Tlaib and Omar have been outspoken critics of Israel and openly support the BDS movement targeting Israel.

Omar and Tlaib were among 16 Democrats to vote against a bill to oppose BDS in July. The bill passed the House easily despite their votes.

Jewish groups, including liberal pro-Israel group J Street and the Jewish Democratic Council of America, joined in the pushback on Israel’s decision and Trump’s support. 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which Omar has criticized in the past, also broke with Netanyahu’s decision, saying “every member of Congress should be able to visit” Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE defended the decision, citing the Israeli law that prohibits entry into the country of individuals who support a boycott of Israel.