By Noa Landau and Amir Tibon
Democratic lawmaker Dean Philips warned on Thursday that “barring any member of the United States Congress from entering Israel would set a damaging precedent by a free and democratic nation, and one of our most important allies in the world.”
Philips, who is Jewish, added that “it will hurt Israel and forgo an opportunity to build bridges of understanding.”
Rep. David Cicilline from Rhode Island also lamented the decision to possibly bar the two, tweeting: “This is a grave mistake by the Israeli government. Democracy is about accepting that others don’t always share your views and respecting the right to disagree.”
The Jewish Democratic Council of America issued a statement Thursday urging Israel to allow the two to enter the country.
“As strong supporters of Israel and of the U.S.-Israel relationship, we urge the government of Israel to reject President Trump’s unprecedented and ill-advised recommendation to deny” Omar and Tlaib, wrote JDCA Executive Director Halie Sofer.
Sofer added that “Banning members of Congress from visiting Israel, where they can see facts on the ground with their own eyes, is counterproductive and plays into President Trump’s goal of politicizing support for Israel,” and accused the U.S. president of interfering in Israel’s democracy, “to the detriment of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”