Omar introduces resolution affirming 'right to participate in boycotts' ahead of possible vote on anti-BDS bill

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNorth Dakota GOP state lawmaker shares debunked photo, calls Omar a 'terrorist' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (D-Minn.) introduced a House resolution Tuesday that would reaffirm Americans’ rights to boycott “in pursuit of civil and human rights.”

The resolution, co-sponsored by Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE (D-Mich.) and civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisThe 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment Detroit police chief calls Tlaib facial recognization idea 'racist' Ossoff raises 0k in first three weeks of Senate bid, campaign says MORE (D-Ga.), comes ahead of a potentially ugly intraparty fight over another resolution to condemn the global boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

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The resolution seeks to affirm that “all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution” and “opposes unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad.”

Leaders in the BDS movement praised the resolution Wednesday, declaring it a win for activists.

“It reassures us that progressives, including in Congress, are defending freedom of expression and the right of oppressed communities, including Palestinians, to peacefully fight for their rights,” Hind Awwad, a spokesperson for the Palestinian-led BDS Movement, said in a statement.

The resolution was introduced the week before a planned vote on the anti-BDS resolution, H.Res. 246, which has broad bipartisan support and 341 co-sponsors.

Tlaib took aim at the bill last week, calling it "unconstitutional."

The measure, she said, aims “to silence opposition of Israel's blatantly racist policies that demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians.” Tlaib, who is Palestinian and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, added in a tweet, “Our 1st Amd. right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies.” 

The resolution also comes amid a cooling of tensions within the party following President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's tweet aimed at Omar, Tlaib and two other congresswomen of color, telling them to go back to the “places from which they came.”

Moderate Democrats have touted the bipartisan anti-BDS bill as necessary for Congress to declare its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It’s important for us to have this come to the floor so this Congress can very clearly state its position,” Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip House Democrats change drug pricing bill in bid to address progressive concerns Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions MORE (D-Fla.), co-chair of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition that has endorsed the resolution, told Politico. “BDS is not helpful in us reaching a two-state solution in the Middle East.”

The politics surrounding Israel have roiled the House Democratic conference this congressional term. Many Democrats were swift to condemn President Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But the party saw sharp divides when several members rebuked Omar in March over remarks about pro-Israel lobbying groups that some said were anti-Semitic. 

Progressives rushed to Omar’s defense, saying she was underlining the sway of the advocacy groups, while critics said comments about “loyalty” to Israel played on historically anti-Semitic tropes.