With all the hubbub surrounding the Robert Mueller hearing last week, you may not have had the time to consider the results of H.Res.246, a resolution that, in its own words, sought to oppose “the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and other efforts targeting Israel, and states that BDS undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The reason you may not have heard about it is that it caused little controversy. The resolution passed 398-17.
Yes, this resolution is a major win against the anti-Semitic BDS movement, but this is hardly something that the vast majority of Americans ever thought to be controversial, as evident by the overwhelming support it received in Congress. So why does it deserve our attention? Well, if you take a glance at the list of Democrats who voted against the resolution, you will notice one name that is glaringly missing from this list. Despite her fellow self-proclaimed “Squad” members all being on the list (marked with a ), Ayanna Pressley is missing. And don’t think I’m the only one to notice.
Pressley has been raked over the coals by the furthest-left people in America. The far-left publication Common Dreams ran the headline “Progressive Except Palestine,” and chastised all those who voted for the resolution for effectively tagging BDS supporters as anti-Semitic (which may be the only thing the article gets correct). Basically, in backing the resolution, Pressley is calling the 17 individuals on this list anti-Semitic. And I agree. As I have mentioned before, it is totally fine to criticize Israeli government, politics, and military force. I may not agree with you, but it is within your right to do so. It is a different level to target Israel, “not about promoting coexistence, civil rights, and political reconciliation, but about questioning and undermining the very legitimacy of the country and its people.” The language of the resolution makes clear that the very foundation of the BDS movement is that of anti-Semitism, and not about promoting peace in the region. In voting with the resolution, Pressley is indeed labeling these 17 members of the House, including her fellow Squadonians, as anti-Semitic.
In an unexpected move, Pressley did not crumble over the criticism. Instead, she simply tweeted “There are a lot of anti-BDS bills out there that infringe on 1st amendment rights at the state and federal level. In my view, HRes 246 wasn’t one of them.” Pressley’s goal seems to be to protect the First Amendment, a claim which in and of itself deserves more space than this article permits. However, if we take her assertion as honest, she’s correct. This bill does not make it illegal to support the BDS movement. It does not take any actual action against the BDS movement at all, and therefore it doesn’t violate the First Amendment. Fair enough.
But the bigger issue here is that this is the first sign of any dissent in the Squad, a group of four women who, until now, believe the same things, vote in a bloc, and do not waiver. And I know what you’re thinking. This, Izzo? This? This minor vote on what is – in their minds – an innocuous resolution? This means dissent? My answer to that is perhaps. And what makes me think that this may be the first straw is that you don’t just adopt a nickname for yourself in Congress if you’re not going to be on the same page on every issue. While Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coined the term a week following the 2018 election, the nickname only came to prominence like a month ago at this point, and it didn’t take long for one to take the opposition’s side. It’s also interesting that Pressley is the first one to break rank. As the least-recognizable member of this group, she had been comparatively quiet until very recently. Perhaps she didn’t quite like the limelight the Squad has given her. Perhaps she isn’t quite as left as the rest of her Squadron. On a more cynical level, perhaps she just wanted to use her more recognizable comrades to get her name and face in the public eye, and now that she has accomplished that, she can begin her separation. Perhaps I am wrong.
Two weeks ago, CBS reporter Gayle King sat down with the four Squad members for a half-hour interview. In the next few days, King went on various shows explaining the interview. In one case she couldn’t stop gushing over how cohesive a unit the Squad is. On CBS This Morning, she stated, “There is no tension between the Squad. These four women are so connected and so on the same page about what they want to do.” Literally a week later they were no longer on the same page about what they want to do.
Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that this is the beginning of the end of the Squad, nor do I truly believe that this is even real dissention. I know that on 98% of issues the Squad will remain together. But it is possible that we are actually seeing the first signs of one of the members – albeit the weakest member – of this group begin to break off. Pressley may want a longer career in politics. Being so outspoken against party leadership may not help her there. I have no doubt that there will be strong challengers to all four Squadsters, not only in 2020 but probably for the rest of their tenure in Congress. Pressley may not really want those challenges. Only time will tell how Pressley will go, but as I’ve pointed out before, I really, really like saying “I told you so.” So, here’s hoping.
Izzo Zwiren works in healthcare administration, constantly concerning himself with the state of healthcare politics. The topic of healthcare has led Izzo to become passionate about a variety of political issues affecting our country today. Aside from politics, Izzo is a fan of trivia, stand-up comedy, and the New York Giants. Izzo lives on Long Island with his wife and two adorable, hilarious daughters.