Senate

Rubio: Israel barring entry to Omar, Tlaib ‘a mistake’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) broke with President Trump on Thursday, calling Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (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.{mosads}

“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.{mosads}

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 Netanyahu defended the decision, citing the Israeli law that prohibits entry into the country of individuals who support a boycott of Israel.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Donald Trump Ilhan Omar Israel trip Marco Rubio Rashida Tlaib

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