U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed a resolution on Wednesday, July 17, to support the right to boycott Israel. The resolution supports the pro Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar told Al-Monitor. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
“Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad including … boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust,” Omar said.
According to a press release from Omar’s office, the congresswoman introduced the legislation, “in response to a widespread campaign being waged by the Israeli government and its U.S. supporters to silence Americans who choose to engage in BDS.”
The resolution asserts the right to boycott as freedom of speech and cites boycott movements in the past against Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and apartheid South Africa.
According to Fox News, an opinion from Mark Goldfeder, special counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice and a member of President Trump’s legal team, said, “Omar’s description of the BDS movement is riddled with falsehoods. BDS is not “nonviolent,” as Omar claims. Support of BDS has been a significant factor in the recent trend of anti-Semitic incidents both globally and domestically.”
“It attempts to cause direct harm to the economic interests of people conducting business in and with Israel—or deemed to be affiliated with Israel,” he added.
“BDS also often targets people who are Jewish or who do business with Jews,” he said.
“In introducing the resolution, Omar actually equated Israel—the only true democracy in the Middle East and a close American ally—with Hamas, a designated Palestinian terrorist organization,” Mark Goldfeder said.
Omar’s resolution will be co-sponsored by Rashida Tlaib, the first female Palestinian-American lawmaker in Congress.
Jewish Republican New York Rep. Lee Zeldin said in a tweet, “Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats. Shame on [Omar] for bringing her hateful twist on that reality to House Foreign today, propping up the BDS movement & blaming Israel for all of its challenges.”
Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats. Shame on Rep @Ilhan Omar for bringing her hateful twist on that reality to House Foreign today, propping up the BDS movement & blaming Israel for all of its challenges pic.twitter.com/y975D0JCaC
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) July 17, 2019
The Times of Israel reported the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday passed a resolution that accuses the BDS movement of promoting “principles of collective guilt, mass punishment, and group isolation.”