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‘Bigoted, short sighted, and cruel’: Pressley blasts Israel’s decision to bar Omar, Tlaib

Ayanna Pressley. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Getty Images

Representative Ayanna Pressley is blasting Israel’s decision to bar two Democratic congresswomen from visiting the country as “bigoted, short sighted and cruel.”

Pressley tweeted shortly after Israel said it would not allow Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to enter the country, citing their support for a boycott of Israel in protest of its policies toward Palestinians.

In a statement Thursday, Pressley said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “stoking division and punishing dissent.”

“Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib are my dear friends, my sisters in service and hardworking Americans who have been subject to some of the most vile and vicious attacks simply for being who they are,” Pressley wrote. “They are duly elected members of Congress and we cannot allow them to be marginalized, discriminated against, nor targeted because of their gender, their religious beliefs, nor their ethnicity.”


Pressley was among a host of voices on both sides of the aisle who condemned Israel’s move on Thursday, including Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, and the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC.

Several said they didn’t agree with Omar and Tlaib’s support of the movement that advocates boycotts and sanctions against Israel, but did not think Israel should ban US government representatives from entering the country.

Israel’s move came shortly after Trump urged Netanyahu to bar the two women in a tweet.

Omar on Thursday said Israel’s move to block her and Tlaib from visiting the country is ‘‘an insult to democratic values.’’

Omar said in a prepared statement that Israel’s move Thursday is the equivalent of Trump’s effort to block travel to the US from Muslim-dominated countries. And she said denying entry ‘‘not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories.’’


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.