Joe Lieberman
Joe LiebermanReuters

Former Senator Joe Lieberman on Friday criticized Israel’s decision to deny entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

“It’s a serious mistake because it’s contrary to the values of the State of Israel, the values to the United States of America which has been the underlying foundation of our relationship,” Lieberman said in an interview on CNN.

“They’re duly elected members of Congress. I can disagree with them, as I do, but really it’s disrespect for the Congress and the American political system for our ally to keep two members of Congress out of Israel,” he added.

Israel announced on Thursday that it would deny entry to Tlaib and Omar due to their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israel’s decision to ban Tlaib and Omar came shortly after Trump wrote on Twitter that Israel “would show great weakness” if it let in the two congresswomen.

However, while some accused Israel of caving to pressure from Trump on the matter, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, later clarified that Trump had nothing to do with the decision.

“We were not pressured by the Trump administration to do this and this is a sovereign decision that Israel has to make,” Dermer said in a phone call with US Jewish leaders, explaining the decision was motivated by the fact that the two Muslim lawmakers support BDS.

“The leadership of our country believes that this visit was designed solely with the intention of promoting BDS and they were gonna use this visit as platform to BDS activities,” the ambassador said.

Meanwhile on Friday, Tlaib requested that Israel grant her permission to visit her grandmother who lives in Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri agreed to the request, but Tlaib then announced she would not make the visit, claiming she was being like a criminal and adding, “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in--fighting against racism, oppression & injustice."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)