Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said on Twitter that congressional representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib wanted to be banned from traveling to Israel.
The senator assured in a tweet that Tlaib had refused the humanitarian visa granted by Israel to visit her elderly grandmother in the West Bank.
The two congresswomen were planning a trip next week to Jerusalem and the West Bank on a tour organized by a Palestinian group that promotes a boycott of the State of Israel and whose members include people who have supported terrorism against the Middle Eastern state, according to an official Israeli statement.
For this reason, on Thursday, Israel decided to ban Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, congresswomen from Minnesota and Michigan respectively, from visiting the West Bank, but said Tlaib could visit family members on humanitarian grounds.
The representative asked permission to visit her 90-year-old grandmother and in the application pledged not to engage in any activity to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.
However, in a tweet posted yesterday, the Democratic congresswoman refused the visa because, according to her, “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me.”
Rubio found in this denial confirmation of his suspicion that prohibition is what she was looking for from the beginning.
“After being denied entry on official visit, Rep. Tlaib asked for a humanitarian visa to visit her 90-year-old grandmother,” the senator wrote on Twitter.
“Israel granted her request,” Rubio said. “But now she turns it down. As I said before, being blocked is what they wanted all along,” he added.
Rubio added that he “disagrees 100% with Reps. Tlaib and on Israel.”
“Being blocked is what they really hoped for all along in order to bolster their attacks against the Jewish state,” the senator added, recalling that he is the author of the Anti-BDS bill that states that U.S. state governments can refuse to do business with companies that boycott Israel, according to Bloomberg.
“But denying them entry into Israel is a mistake,” he said.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his decision, assuring in a statement posted on Facebook:
“Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress.”
“Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy,” the statement says.
“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, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country.”