While several prominent Republicans, including the President himself, have vocalized support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to ban to sitting congresswomen from entering the country, an odd consortium of conservative voices have spoken out against it.
While none of the three conservatives actually defended Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), each called the decision a mistake. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a tweet acknowledged that he “100 percent” disagrees with both congresswomen’s stances on Israel and the BDS movement, but said the decision would only “bolster” their opposition to the Israeli government.
Erik Erikson, a conservative blogger and radio host, and Ben Shapiro, a controversial far-right figure — who made news just this week for deriding poor people who have to work two jobs — both called the ban a “PR mistake” for Israel.
I think Israel made a mistake. They handed a PR win to the suicide squad. Had they let them come in, disrupt, then acted, they’d have had the high ground.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) August 15, 2019
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
All are true:
1. Israel does allow critics in the country.
2. Israel does not allow those who call for its boycott and/or destruction into the country.
3. (2) is justified.
4. Omar and Tlaib fall under (2).
5. It's still a PR mistake for Israel to hand this kind of club to them.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 15, 2019
While the tweets don’t necessarily amount to support for the congresswomen — who were set to tour parts of the West Bank and visit a on controversial Muslim holy site — they stand out in contrast with other Republicans who have tossed their full weight behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision, including President Trump, Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Chip Roy (R-TX), Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“If you openly joined an international movement to destroy the state of Israel, then you’ll suffer the consequences,” Graham told CBS on Thursday.
Several Democrats and America-based pro-Israel groups reportedly privately expressed concern to the Israeli government about the optics of barring two sitting congresswomen from the entering the country. But the government announced it’s decision Thursday, after being privately and publicly lobbied by Trump personally to keep the congresswomen, who support the BDS movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions), out of Israel.