The House overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday opposing an international effort to boycott Israel, a rare bipartisan vote as Democrats try to tamp down increasingly heated political rhetoric over differences with the longtime U.S. ally, according to AP.
The resolution puts the House on record opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) and its efforts to target U.S. companies that do business with Israel. The movement has grown in recent years, and Israel sees it as a threat. Supporters of Israel view it as an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state.
The resolution passed with a vote of 398-17. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), were among the 17 Democrats who voted against the resolution.
Omar, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the only lawmakers to voice objection when the bill was included in a package the panel approved last week.
“What are we doing to bring peace? I believe that simple question should guide every vote we take in this committee,” said the freshman lawmaker, who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia when she was a child and became a U.S. citizen.
Omar has been outspoken against Israel, once tweeting that lawmakers were supportive of the Jewish state because they were essentially being paid to do so. It was widely considered a slur that relied on a trope against Jewish people, and she later “unequivocally” apologized.
Trump called her apology “lame” and Republicans have continued to stoke opposition to her views as part of the “squad” of liberal freshmen lawmakers. Last week at a Trump rally the crowd chanted about Omar, “Send her back.”
Last week Omar introduced legislation that supported the BDS movement in response to the resolution.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
President Trump has repeatedly said that Omar and other members of freshman “progressives” Congresswomen that they hate Jews, hate Israel and suggested they apologize.
Includes reporting from The Associate Press