TEL AVIV – The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Tuesday opposing boycotts of Israel after some Democrats expressed concern last week that the measure could cause infighting within the party leading up to the 2020 election.
House Resolution 246, which passed by a vote of 398-17, rejects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and calls for increased security aid to the Jewish state.
It also calls “for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states — a democratic Jewish State of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state — living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.”
Sixteen Democrats opposed the bill, including the first two Muslim women in Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who are both supporters of the BDS movement.
The resolution “opposes the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) targeting Israel, including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.”
The BDS campaign “undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure.”
Several congressmen expressed their support for the bill.
“You simply will not and cannot achieve lasting peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians and work toward a two-state solution if you support a movement that seeks to delegitimize the very existence of Israel,” said Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Florida-22). “I am relentlessly opposed to the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign that seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel and deny the Jewish people — and only the Jewish people — the right to self-determination.”
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia-2) said: “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is an economic attack on Israel and BDS supporters do not even think Israel should exist.”
“Displays of antisemitism have become too frequent in the past few months, even from members of this House of Representatives — and it is time that we stand united in support of Israel,” he continued.
“Under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, our relationship with Israel has never been stronger. We must never forget the important role Israel plays in the world, and I will continue to be a vocal supporter of our eternal friendship,” he said.
Pro-Israel lobby the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lauded the resolution.
“BDS disguises its true intentions under the banner of ‘human rights,’ yet it hypocritically ignores human rights abuses against Palestinians in other countries across the Middle East, as well as the widespread abuses perpetrated by Palestinian leaders against their own people,” AIPAC tweeted.
There is nothing noble about a boycott to discriminate against our democratic ally. We applaud the 350 representatives–175 Democrats and 175 Republicans–who have cosponsored H.Res.246 and called BDS what it is: anti-Israel, anti-peace and damaging to U.S. interests.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) July 23, 2019
Tlaib slammed the resolution as a bid to silence BDS supporters’ “opposition of Israel’s blatantly racist policies.”
“Our [First Amendment] right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies,” she tweeted. “This bill is unconstitutional.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Tlaib delivered an impassioned speech “as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights — the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment.”
She then drew a comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany to make her case.
“Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to the dehumanization, imprisonment and genocide of the Jewish people.”