- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, broke ranks with President Trump on Thursday by speaking out against Israel banning two Democratic congresswomen from entering the country.

Mr. Rubio took to Twitter after Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota – both staunch supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel – learned they would be accordingly barred from visiting.

“I disagree 100% with Reps. Tlaib & Omar on #Israel & am the author of the #AntiBDS bill we passed in the Senate,” Mr. Rubio tweeted. “But denying them entry into #Israel is a mistake.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced earlier Thursday that neither of the congresswomen would be allowed to enter Israel due to their support for the BDS movement, effectively thwarting their plans to participate in an upcoming trip being organized by a Palestinian nonprofit.

“As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement. “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s announcement came moments after Mr. Trump tweeted that neither of the congresswomen should be allowed to visit Israel.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. 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!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Elected to the House in 2018, Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar are among four progressive first-term congresswomen of color known as “The Squad” who have feuded publicly with the president since taking office earlier this year. Mr. Trump made waves last month when he told them to “go back” to the countries from which they came, and chants of “send her back” subsequently erupted when he spoke disparagingly about Ms. Omar, a former Somali refugee, at a campaign rally days later.

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