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.
ADVERTISEMENT
 
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 TlaibBill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Omar offers sneak peek at her forthcoming memoir Sanders wins endorsement of top Muslim group 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 SandersBloomberg: 'I'm going to stay right to the bitter end' of Democratic primary race The Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary 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 OmarBill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Progressive group leader describes why Warren would be better than Sanders Omar offers sneak peek at her forthcoming memoir 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 PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment MORE (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerLawmakers dedicate Oversight room to Cummings, unveil plaque Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket Trump names Pence to lead coronavirus response MORE (D-Md.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer Sanders blasts Trump for picking 'completely unqualified' Pence for coronavirus response Trump passes Pence a dangerous buck Democratic mega-donor reaching out to Pelosi, Schumer in bid to stop Sanders: report 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.
 
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also expected to speak at the AIPAC conference and meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE at the White House early next week. Netanyahu's visit will come ahead of the Israeli elections in early April.