Graham: Omar, Tlaib should face 'consequences' for trying to 'destroy' Israel

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe risks of staying in Afghanistan far outweigh the risk of withdrawal Republicans turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks Calls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress MORE (R-S.C.) said he supported Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAmash readying legislation allowing victims to sue officers Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Black Caucus member unveils bill to create commission addressing legacy of slavery MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibPelosi: George Floyd death is 'a crime' Overnight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Mich.) from entering the nation over their support for a boycott of Israel. 

“They are duly elected members of Congress, I get that, but they are openly supporting the [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement which would be an economic boycott of the state of Israel and basically destroy the state, so I understand both sides of the story here,” Graham told reporters from WLTX, a CBS-affiliated television station, on Thursday. 

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When asked if he thought it was a mistake on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE’s part to change his position after initially saying the lawmakers would be allowed in, Graham said “probably not” in terms of Israeli politics. 

"From my point of view, there have got to be consequences to your behavior. If you openly joined an international movement to destroy the state of Israel, then you'll suffer the consequences,” he added.

Israel’s official announcement came minutes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says inviting Russia to G7 'a question of common sense' Pentagon chief does not support invoking Insurrection Act Dershowitz: Does President Trump have power to declare martial law? MORE encouraged the decision in a tweet. Trump said allowing the Muslim American Democrats into Israel would show “great weakness.”

Many lawmakers, including Republicans, have pushed back on Netanyahu’s decision and Trump’s tweet. 

Even lawmakers who disagree with Omar and Tlaib’s views on Israel and their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement have said the Middle East ally should allow the congresswomen to visit.

Netanyahu defended Israel’s decision, citing a recently passed Israeli law that denies entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly call for boycotts against Israel or its settlements in the West Bank. 

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.