AIPAC says 'every member of Congress should be able to visit' Israel after Omar and Tlaib are barred entry

(Image credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel's decision to bar two Democratic lawmakers from entering is now drawing pushback from an unlikely source.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a statement on Thursday spoke out against Israel's decision to not allow Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) to enter for a visit that had been planned for the weekend. This announcement came after President Trump, who has targeted Omar and Tlaib with racist attacks and criticized their support for the BDS movement, tweeted that allowing them in would "show great weakness."

"We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib's support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib's calls for a one-state solution," AIPAC wrote. "We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand."

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This unexpected rebuke from the pro-Israel group emphasized the stunning nature of the country not allowing American lawmakers to visit at the president's suggestion, and as Vox's Zack Beauchamp wrote, "AIPAC virtually never publicly criticizes the Israeli government." On that note, Politico's Jake Sherman asked, "Has there been a bigger AIPAC-Bibi break ever?" AIPAC previously offered criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year for a deal reached with a "racist and reprehensible party," doing so in a short tweet that still "sent shock waves through the political establishment," as The Washington Post reported.

Trump is not backing down, claiming again on Twitter following the announcement that the two lawmakers "HATE Israel!" But Democrats slammed Israel for this decision on Thursday, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling it a "sign of weakness" and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) blasting it as "outrageous."

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