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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-S.C.) said he supported Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Omar renews claim Stephen Miller is a 'white nationalist' amid calls for him to step down MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Sanders: Fighting anti-Semitism 'is very personal' 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. 

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 TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation 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.