Monday, November 30, 2020

US House of Representatives condemns BDS movement

By F.F. Dawkins - July 30, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [BDS]

On Tuesday, 23 July, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution on formally condemning BDS, a movement which advocates for the non-violent boycott of Israel.

An overwhelming majority of 398 Representatives voted for the resolution with only 17 votes against. 

The resolution was introduced by Republican and Democratic Representatives. Initial sponsor of the resolution, Democratic Brad Schneider was supported by Democrat Jerrold Nadler, and the Republicans Lee Zeldin and Ann Wagner.  

The formal resolution H.Res.246 wants to “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 delegitimise the State of Israel”. Furthermore, it urges the need for “Israelis and Palestinians to return to direct negotiations”.

Brad Schneider states in a public statement that “The Global BDS Movement denies the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel, refuses to accept the basic idea of a Jewish state and seeks to delegitimise Israel in international forums.”

Among the 16 Democrats, who voted against the resolution, where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, which are part of the so-called “squad”. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are notably known for their support of the BDS movement and have recently introduced a pro-BDS resolution. The two congresswomen further plan to visit Palestine and Israel in the upcoming weeks.

Rashida Tlaib, who is the first Palestinian-American Representative ever elected, explained her vote by saying “I stand before you the daughter of Palestinian immigrants[…]Parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights, the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment. So I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel. I love our country’s freedom of speech, Madam Speaker. Dissent is how we nurture democracy”.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez explained after the adoption of the resolution in an interview with BuzzFeed that BDS “a tough issue, especially for constituencies back home[…]ultimately it comes down to protecting free speech.”

Schneider said in his statement that the resolution does not “infringe on any American’s right to protest.” and further recognises the importance of boycott practices. However, he claims that not all “boycotts seek just ends” and that the resolution objection is the fundamental aim of BDS respectively “the delegitimisation of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish state.”

This resolution goes in line with a similar bill passed in February by the US Senate, which also condemned the BDS movement. Additionally, to the senate’s decision, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, issued an Executive Order, which directed New York State Entities to divest funds from companies which are participating in BDS activities.

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