Rick Scott backs Netanyahu, Trump on Omar-Tlaib move

Rick Scott backs Netanyahu, Trump on Omar-Tlaib move
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday tweeted that Israel has "no obligation" to allow Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarJayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Jayapal endorses Sanders MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats press Trump administration to stop DNA collection from detained migrants Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Jayapal endorses Sanders MORE (D-Mich.) to enter the country, calling both of the U.S. lawmakers "anti-Semitic."

"I agree with @realDonaldTrump and @netanyahu. Israel is a sovereign nation and they have no obligation to let in anti-Semitic Congressional members into their country," he tweeted. "We can never and should never tolerate anti-Semitism."

Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress, have both criticized Israel's treatment of the Palestinians but reject any assertion that they are anti-Semitic. Democrats have blasted Israel's decision and President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE's unprecedented step of urging a foreign ally to deny entry to duly-elected U.S. lawmakers.

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Israel made the decision to bar Tlaib and Omar after Trump tweeted his support for denying their entry to visit Israel and the Palestinian-governed territories.

 

The two lawmakers are both supporters of the boycott, divest and sanctions movement (BDS), which supporters say targets Israel over its treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

Israel has a new law that says people who support boycotts of the country can be kept from entering, and Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE had faced pressure from conservative parties to not allow the two U.S. lawmakers, who are frequent critics of Israel, to enter. 

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Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian refugees. She and Omar had declined a congressional visit alongside dozens of other lawmakers this week in favor of a fact-finding visit to both Israeli and Palestinian territories on Sunday.

Netanyahu said Thursday that the two would be barred from visiting the country, though he added that Tlaib could visit family in the West Bank if she filed a humanitarian request.

“The two-member congressional visitation plan shows that their intent is to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it,” the prime minister said.

"However, if Congresswoman Tlaib filed a humanitarian request to meet her family members, subject to a commitment that she would not act to promote the boycotts against Israel, the interior minister announced he would consider this request," he added.

Trump tweeted Thursday prior to Israel's announcement that the country would "show great weakness" by allowing the two to visit.

"It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit," he tweeted. "They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!"

A few Republicans have criticized Israel for barring entry to Tlaib and Omar, while some others have backed the decision.