(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

AIPAC Criticizes Israel for Barring US Lawmakers

Omar, Talib Prevented From Traveling

August 15, 2019 - 4:52 pm

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on Israel's decision to bar two U.S. Democratic congresswomen from visiting (all times local):

11:25 p.m.

A pro-Israel lobbying group is criticizing the Israeli government for barring a pair of outspoken Democratic congresswomen from visiting the country because of their views.

AIPAC said in a statement Thursday that they "disagree" with Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who are outspoken critics of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and support a boycott of Israel.

But the group says: "We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand."

The decision by Israel appears to be an unprecedented move against American members of Congress.

President Donald Trump said shortly before the announcement, however, that it would "show great weakness" if Israel allowed them in.

AIPAC, which advocates pro-Israel policies, has generally been supportive of the president.

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10:45 p.m.

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib says Israel's move to block her from visiting because of her support for a boycott movement against the country is a "sign of weakness."

Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, on Thursday tweeted a photo of her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank. She said her grandmother "deserves to live in peace & with human dignity," and barring her granddaughter from entering "is a sign of weakness" because "the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening."

Tlaib and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, both Muslims, are outspoken critics of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and have repeatedly sparred with President Donald Trump. They had planned to visit Jerusalem and the West Bank on a tour organized by a Palestinian organization.

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8:20 p.m.

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar says Israel's move to block her and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib from visiting the country is "an insult to democratic values."

Omar says in a prepared statement that Israel's move Thursday is the equivalent of President Donald Trump's effort to block travel to the U.S. from Muslim-dominated countries. And she says denying entry "not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories."

The Minnesota Democrat says the move isn't a surprise given that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump."

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