House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts

House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts
© Stefani Reynolds
Two House Democrats introduced a resolution on Thursday to condemn a global boycott campaign against Israel amid recent internal divisions in the Democratic Party over relations with the top U.S. ally.
 
 
The resolution's introduction comes days before the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington that starts this weekend, where multiple top Democratic leaders are expected to speak.
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Supporters of the BDS movement argue it's an effort to pressure Israel on its treatment of Palestinians. But in a letter to colleagues on Thursday, Nadler and Schneider wrote that "this resolution makes it abundantly clear that support for the Global BDS Movement and support for a two-state solution are incompatible."
 
"The Global BDS Movement’s overly-simplistic and one-sided approach do a disservice to the cause of peace and stability by unfairly placing blame entirely on one side and by seeking to delegitimize one party on the world stage. This does nothing to encourage either party to resume negotiations or enhance a better understanding of each other or the complexity of the conflict," the lawmakers wrote.
 
The Senate previously passed legislation in February that would allow states to penalize businesses that take part in boycotts or divestments of Israel. But some Democrats, including freshman Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibGOP hopes dim on reclaiming House Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Democrats take aim at Trump policies by passing T spending package MORE (D-Mich.), opposed the measure due to concerns about free speech.
 
Other Democrats who do not support the BDS movement also raised concerns, like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage Sanders: Trump taking credit for easing tensions he helped create 2020 Democrats vow to expand abortion access at Planned Parenthood event MORE (I-Vt.), who said "it is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights."
 
Introduction of Nadler and Schneider's resolution also comes after the House passed a resolution earlier this month condemning hatred, including anti-Semitism, in response to comments from freshman Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar: 'People are being put in camps' at southern border Don't let demagoguery derail new black-Jewish congressional alliance GOP hopes dim on reclaiming House MORE (D-Minn.) criticizing the influence of the pro-Israel lobby.
 
Several Jewish Democrats said that her comments invoked anti-Semitic tropes of dual loyalty. Those lawmakers and others had pushed for a resolution that focused only on condemning anti-Semitism.
 
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says he'd win the election 'easier' if Democrats impeach him Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks Hispanic Caucus seeks to retain voice in House leadership MORE (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats give Trump trade chief high marks Hispanic Caucus seeks to retain voice in House leadership GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks MORE (D-Md.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' MORE (D-N.Y.) are all slated to speak at this year's annual AIPAC conference, which begins Sunday.
 
Progressive group MoveOn called on Democratic presidential candidates to skip the AIPAC gathering, citing the group's opposition to the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and its lack of condemnation of anti-Semitic statements from Republicans.
 
Several 2020 Democratic contenders have said they will not attend the conference this year, including Sanders, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDemocrats talk up tax credits to counter Trump law Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Trump delays operation to deport migrant families MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Democrats vow to expand abortion access at Planned Parenthood event Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Gillibrand leads 'Happy Birthday' to Warren in South Carolina MORE (D-Mass.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeOvernight Health Care: Key Trump drug pricing proposal takes step forward | Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic loses bid for license | 2020 Democrats to take part in Saturday forum on abortion rights Warren pledges to ban private prisons Poll: Biden leads 2020 Democrats by 19 points in Virginia MORE (D-Texas).
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also expected to speak at the AIPAC conference and meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Joint Chiefs chairman: 'The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran' Pence: 'We're not convinced' downing of drone was 'authorized at the highest levels' Trump: Bolton would take on the whole world at one time MORE at the White House early next week. Netanyahu's visit will come ahead of the Israeli elections in early April.