Middle East/North Africa

Netanyahu praises House for passing anti-BDS resolution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the House of Representatives for passing a resolution opposing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“I would like to commend the U.S. House of Representatives for overwhelmingly approving, by a great bipartisan majority, Democrats and Republicans alike, a decision against boycotts against Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video tweeted Wednesday.

“This attests to the support for Israel in the U.S.; this support is bipartisan, and it is important to us. I welcome this decision. It is right and it is helpful.”

The resolution passed by an overwhelming 398-17 margin, with 16 Democrats, mostly progressives, voting against it.

{mosads}The resolution, authored by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), doubles down on support for a two-state solution, saying the BDS movement “undermines” that ultimate goal “because it demands concessions of one party alone and encourages Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure.”

“Here’s the thing about the global BDS movement: I don’t believe it promotes racial justice or social change at all. It promotes a one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seeks to marginalize Israel, that would deny the Jewish people the right of national self-determination,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said during floor debate. 

Progressive opponents of the legislation warned it would hinder free speech.

“Our right to free speech is being threatened with this resolution. It sets a dangerous precedent because it attempts to delegitimize a certain people’s political speech and to send a message that our government can and will take action against speech it doesn’t like,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who is of Palestinian descent, said in her floor speech.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), another progressive firebrand who opposed the legislation passed Tuesday, introduced a rival resolution last week that would reaffirm Americans’ rights to boycott “in pursuit of civil and human rights” and oppose “unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad,” though it does not specifically mention BDS.

Tags BDS movement Benjamin Netanyahu Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Brad Schneider Eliot Engel Ilhan Omar Israel Rashida Tlaib

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