U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed a resolution this week supporting the right to boycott Israel, likening the boycott of the Jewish state to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Omar’s resolution seeks to push back against U.S. laws banning the boycott of Israel and affirms the right of Americans to organize boycotts of foreign countries if they so wish.
While the resolution doesn’t explicitly name Israel or the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, she told media outlets that the resolution concerns the Jewish state.
"And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement."
“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,” she added.
The resolution attracted some Republican detractors, with Rep. Lee Zeldin slamming Omar for introducing it, saying she brought “her hateful twist” by propping up the BDS movement.
“Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats,” Zeldin wrote in a tweet. “Shame on Rep 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.”
The resolution affirms the right to boycott as an expression of free speech and cites examples of boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and apartheid South Africa.
“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 in the resolution introduced Tuesday.
“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’s measure will be co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the first female Palestinian-American lawmaker in Congress who openly supports a one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
But the resolution will likely lead to yet another clash with her fellow Democrats who are mulling a resolution condemning the boycott movement.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed Wednesday a resolution that accuses the BDS movement of promoting “principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation,” the Times of Israel reported.
It remains unclear if the resolution will be introduced to the whole Congress next week amid fears over intra-party clashes.
“I think the timing would not be very wise to take up additional measures around the Middle East,” Rep. Mark Pocan told Politico. “Donald Trump just brought us all together, so let’s take advantage of that.”