Omar Seizes Spotlight to Push Anti-Israel, Pro-BDS Resolution

As reported by TimesofIsrael 

US Representative Ilhan Omar introduced a resolution on Tuesday aimed at pushing back against laws seeking to clamp down on boycotts of Israel.

The resolution, which does not explicitly mention Israel or the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, comes as Omar and several other progressive freshman Democrats have been thrown back into the spotlight, thanks to attacks on them by US President Donald Trump.

The resolution affirms the right of Americans to participate in boycotts as an expression of free speech under the First Amendment, citing boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the USSR and apartheid South Africa

It is cosponsored by Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat whose family is Palestinian, and Georgia’s John Lewis, a civil rights pioneer.

“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 the Al-Monitor news site in comments published late Tuesday. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

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The resolution introduced Tuesday calls on the House to oppose “unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad,” a reference to resolutions passed in several states that ban working with companies who back the BDS movement.

The Combating BDS Act introduced in the Senate would grant federal protections to states that target the pro-Palestinian movement, including states that ban contracts with individuals and entities who partake in Israel boycotts.

Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership in the House is gearing up to introduce a non-binding resolution condemning BDS.

On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the resolution, which accuses the BDS movement of promoting “principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation.”