Trump defends Israel’s decision to bar congresswomen

Trump said he supports the Jewish state’s decision to bar two “very anti-Jewish and very anti-Israel” lawmakers from entering the country.

By Associated Press

President Donald Trump is defending Israel’s decision to bar two Democratic members of Congress from visiting the country, even as he claims he didn’t “encourage or discourage” the move.

Trump told reporters on Thursday that he “did speak to people over there” regarding the decision but says he was “only involved from the standpoint that they’re very anti-Jewish and very anti-Israel.”

Israel announced earlier Thursday that it is barring a visit by Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota over their support for boycotts of the Jewish state.

Trump had tweeted before the announcement that it would “show great weakness” to let them in.

Tlaib and Omar are outspoken critics of Israel who have both faced persistent accusations of anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC also criticized the Israeli government for barring the congresswomen.

AIPAC said in a statement Thursday that they “disagree” with Tlaib and Omar, but added, “We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”