In the first legislative move by a member of “The Squad” since the Democratic Civil War spilled out into the streets of Washington, DC, a pro-BDS resolution was sponsored by Ilhan Omar. Omar, who has a long history of anti-Semitic statements and a deference to radical Islamist terrorists, disguises her obvious hatred of the Jewish people and the Jewish state as a First Amendment issue. She is not alone in the Democratic Caucus on this issue. There is increasing support for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments in both Houses; this is only the latest symptom of a larger disease.
During this year’s AIPAC conference, which occurred in the midst of Ilhan Omar’s scandal when she slurred Jews of having “dual loyalty,” Nancy Pelosi condemned the BDS movement. “We must also be vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy, and that includes BDS.” This sentence encapsulates House Resolution 496, “Affirming 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.” It is an obvious masquerade, a way for Omar and her co-sponsors, Rashida Tlaib and John Lewis, to attack the Jewish state under a facade of First Amendment issues.
The resolution itself is a false-flag. There has never been a proposal that prevents individuals from boycotting whomever and whatever they want. Every anti-BDS legislation proposed and passed by local, state, and federal legislative bodies have focused solely on the use of government dollars. The government will not give money to companies that actively Boycott, Divest or Sanction the State of Israel. If the owners of that company decides to engage in BDS tactics on their own, but their company does not do so, the government can still do business with that company.
The government choosing to not engage with companies that boycott Israel is also not a First Amendment issue. This logic was used by 22 Democratic Senators (including several Presidential candidates) when they voted against an anti-BDS Senate bill back in January. As Senator Marco Rubio, who sponsored the legislation, wrote in The New York Times, “The problem is that there are no such rights. While the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to free speech, it does not protect the right of entities to engage in discriminatory conduct.” Boycotting the State of Israel alone, singling out the Jewish people for economic destruction when no such boycotting movement exists for any other country, is obviously discriminatory. Despite some heavy hitters among the Democrats voting against the bill (including Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren), the vote passed. The House version of the bill, however, has not been brought to the floor by the Democratic majority.
Omar’s resolution goes even further in justifying her hatred for Israel. In the text of the resolution, she compares boycotting Israel to the boycotting of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. “Whereas Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad, including...boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust...leading the campaign in the 1980s to boycott South African goods in opposition to apartheid in that country...” She also compared boycotting Israel to the Boston Tea Party, the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the segregated South, and the boycotts of 1930s’ Imperialist Japan and 1980s’ Soviet Union.
It would be easy to examine each and every one of these boycotts and the actions that those entities performed to deserve such a boycott in order to explain the differences between Israel and those entities, but that would be a waste of time. The BDS movement does not want to hear that Israel is not Nazi Germany, or apartheid South Africa, or the Soviet Union, nor will hearing such counterarguments prevent them from castigating the Jewish state. They do not care about the thousands of non-Jewish or Palestinian lives that are being affected by their movement; they just want to see Israel destroyed. This is why it’s not worthwhile debunking this resolution (which has no chance of passing); it makes more sense to attack it head-on.
This resolution should become a litmus test for basic anti-Semitic action. Co-sponsors of this resolution should be noted as such, and it should be a reason to vote them out of office. This is what American Jews and non-Jews who support Israel should do, because the extreme left is on the offensive to destroy the US-Israel alliance.
The anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic movement IfNotNow is actively going after each Democratic presidential candidate and asking for a pledge to “End the Occupation.” The “occupation” is another lie told by anti-Semites who want to see the destruction of the Jewish state. So far, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Butigieg, and Joe Biden have included an end to the “Occupation” when being approached by IfNotNow activists. Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke refused to use the term.
Combating the BDS movement also means combating those who support its agenda and kowtow to its activists. While many Democrats oppose BDS and support the State of Israel, there is a growing contingent of those who actively advocate for the BDS movement. This is primarily due to the increasingly popular Democratic Socialists of America wing of the party. These are the ones who burn Israeli flags and have BDS as a part of their charter.
The members of “the Squad,” made up of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, have all been boosted by the Democratic Socialists. So far, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley have not cosponsored this resolution, but that may be due to their constituency more than their personal feelings on the matter. Ocasio-Cortez represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, and Pressley represents a large section of Boston. These cities have large Jewish populations, so comparing Israel to Nazi Germany may not go over so well in the next election cycle.
That doesn’t mean that those who don’t cosponsor this resolution should be let off the hook. Ocasio-Cortez has minimized the Holocaust, befriended known anti-Semites such as Linda Sarsour and Jeremy Corbyn, and generally stood by while Omar and Tlaib spouted their anti-Semitism. Pressley, the least famous member of The Squad, has also stood with Omar and Tlaib’s anti-Semitism. Pressley also firmly believes that if you are a certain color or religion, you should only be allowed to think a certain way. “[W]e don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” she said to a cheering crowd at the Netroots Nation political convention. “We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice.” By the same logic, she would not “need” Jews that don’t want to be a Jewish voice. The only Jewish voice she would agree with is the Jewish voice of IfNotNow.
There is some hope for the Democratic Party’s relationship with Israel. In January 2019, pro-Israel members of the Democratic Caucus formed the “Democratic Majority for Israel.” Despite the accusations to the contrary, groups like AIPAC and NORPAC are strictly nonpartisan. While this resolution will fail, it is incredibly important for Pro-Israel Americans to understand where the attacks are coming from, who can be counted on to repel those attacks, and what tactics and strategies can be used to make sure that those attacks keep failing. The Ilhan Omars of the world will never stop attacking Jews, and they will use a variety of tactics to do so. Even Nancy Pelosi, for all her faults, has admitted the bigotry of the BDS movement. Time will tell if she is willing to stand up for her words when being pressured by the extreme left.
Moshe Hill is a political journalist who has written for The Daily Wire, the Queens Jewish Link, and the Jewish Link of New Jersey. He is regularly featured on ‘The Josh M Show’ podcast. Subscribe to aHillwithaview.com for more content from Moshe Hill. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/ahillwithaview and follow him on Twitter @TheMoHill.