Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar introduce resolution aimed at bolstering Israel boycotts
19 July, 2019, 22:01
The two lawmakers' visit comes after US President Donald Trump targeted them in recent tweets, saying they - and two other freshmen liberal congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY and Ayanna Pressley of MA - hated America and Israel and should "go back" to the "crime-infested places from which they came".
The resolution itself makes no explicit mention of the BDS movement, but she invoked it in an interview with Al-Monitor as she introduced her resolution. "I'm looking forward to this measure being brought to a vote on the House floor, to emphasize the broad support for a two-state solution and for combating bias and anti-Semitism".
Israel's Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said on Friday that Israel will not prevent two BDS-supporting members of Congress from entering Israel next month.
Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) filed a resolution defending boycotts - meant to push back against states that refuse to do business with companies boycotting Israel due to the Palestinian Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement.
However, their entry into Israel could be banned on account of their support of the Palestinian-led anti-Israel boycott movement.
"Our 1st Amd. right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies". Ultimately, Omar and others argue, the question isn't whether or not BDS is anti-Semitic but whether laws prohibiting Americans from engaging in it are anti-American.
It's important to remember that much of the GOP was against boycotting South Africa during the apartheid years as well, including former president Ronald Reagan who vetoed a sanctions bill, a veto ultimately overridden by Congress. Both Tlaib and Omar have expressed their support for the BDS movement.
But Blue Dog Democrats, the moderate or conservative members of the House majority - some of whom who have rebranded themselves as the "Problem Solvers" caucus - sound virtually indistinguishable from the GOP on the issue.
"In order for us to have a process of getting to a two-state solution, people have to be willing to come to the table and have a conversation about how that is going to be possible and I think that stops the dialogue", Omar said.
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., for instance, simultaneously characterized Omar's bill as an assault on Israel and as not being serious legislation.
"It goes out of its way to rebuke the current administration's nascent peace efforts and blames Israel for undermining the peace process", said McCaul. "The comments here today [by Omar and other supporters] are a tiny part of that delegitimizing effort".
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