In July, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) sponsored a Pro-BDS resolution in which she compared the State of Israel to Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and other human-rights violators. After public backlash, the resolution was mostly forgotten; there wouldn’t be enough popular support for it to come up for a vote on the House floor, let alone pass Congress.
However, recent co-sponsorships of the resolution should make pro-Israel voters sit up and take notice, while the Trump administration’s State Department is fighting back.
The resolution was originally co-sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and co-sponsored by other far-left members of Congress, such as fellow “Squad” member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Surprisingly, though, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) also added her name to the growing list.
Gabbard, who already has the reputation of being a “mouthpiece” for Syria’s brutal dictator Bashar Assad, is not the first Democratic presidential candidate to give at least a tacit endorsement to the anti-Semitic BDS movement.
The first Senate bill of 2019 was Marco Rubio’s “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019,” which included the “Combating BDS Act of 2019.” Five presidential candidates could be counted among the 23 negative votes received (22 Democrats and 1 Republican). Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) all voted against it.
Furthermore, the anti-Israel group IfNotNow is attempting to get Democratic presidential candidates to support their agenda. Sanders and Warren both gave firm commitments to the group, which supports BDS and pushes the lie of “the occupation” of Judea and Samaria by Israel. Warren actually has an IfNotNow co-founder, Max Berger, as a foreign-policy adviser. Gabbard is making a strong statement on her intended Israel policy by co-sponsoring this resolution.
The State Department also made a strong statement regarding the BDS movement, one clearly intended as a response to Omar’s resolution.
Recently added to the State Department website’s definition of anti-Semitism is: “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” This flies directly in the face of the text of the resolution, which reads: “Whereas 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.”
While defenders of the resolution insist that it’s a freedom of speech issue, simple analysis of anti-BDS legislation reveals that defense to be a thinly veiled facade for the true intent of the BDS movement; the complete destruction of the Jewish state.
As Senator Rubio wrote in The New York Times, “The problem is that there are no such [First Amendment] rights. While the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to free speech, it does not protect the right of entities to engage in discriminatory conduct. Moreover, state governments have the right to set contracting and investment policies, including policies that exclude companies engaged in discriminatory commercial- or investment-related conduct targeting Israel.”
With her co-sponsorship of this pro-BDS resolution, Gabbard aligns herself with the most radical members of her party. Pro-Israel Democrats should note this when headed to the primary ballot box in 2020.
Moshe Hill is a political analyst who has written for “The Daily Wire,” “The Queens Jewish Link” and “The Jewish Link of New Jersey.” Follow on Twitter @TheMoHill.