Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lashed out at President Trump and the Israeli government Thursday after Israel announced that it would deny entry to Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who’d planned to visit the country on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of the decision came just hours after President Trump warned that Omar and Tlaib “hate” the Jewish state. “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress,” Netanyahu said, adding that the “sole purpose” of the congresswomen’s trip was “to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), while specifying that he disagreed with Omar and Tlaib about Israel, called the move a “mistake.”
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.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2019
Another Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, agreed, saying that the Trump administration “made a mistake” in encouraging Israel to deny Tlaib and Omar entry.
Instead, the Administration should have encouraged Israel to welcome the visit as an opportunity for Reps. Tlaib and Omar to learn from the Israeli people.
We have to be willing to talk if we want people to change their views.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) August 15, 2019
Michigan Representative Justin Amash, a former Republican who is Palestinian-American and has called for impeaching the president, was harsher in his remarks condemning Israel’s decision.
Israel should stand up to President Trump and allow our colleagues to visit. Nobody has to agree with their opinions, but it will inevitably harm U.S.-Israel relations if members of Congress are banned from the country. We must find ways to come together; there’s enough division.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 15, 2019
Democrats, meanwhile, had strong words for Israeli officials and the president.
House Appropriations Committee chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York, who is Jewish, said Israel had missed an opportunity by following the president’s recommendation.
Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/uJjk8xcOoQ
— Nita Lowey (@NitaLowey) August 15, 2019
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, who is also Jewish, echoed Lowey’s sentiment in his own statement.
I strongly condemn this decision by the Israeli government, which undermines the ability for our two allied countries to have the frank, open and, at times, difficult discussions that we must have in order to ensure Israel remains a secure and democratic nation. https://t.co/NRTdxW9s4N
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) August 15, 2019