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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' Bipartisan senators earmark billion to support democracies globally Democrats see Christmas goal slipping away MORE (R-S.C.) said he supported Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Pressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Omar calls McCarthy 'a liar and a coward' for reaction to Boebert comments MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibPelosi: Democrats can't allow 'indecent' Boebert comments to stand Omar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats September video shows Boebert made earlier comments suggesting Omar was a terrorist 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 TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race 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.