‘I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and the other members of “The Squad,” defended the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement after the House voted to condemn it, saying countries must be willing to take bold stands against extremism.
“Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment, and genocide of Jewish people,” Tlaib said. “In the 1980s, many of us in this very body boycotted South African goods in the fight against apartheid. Our right to free speech is being threatened with this resolution.”
The House voted in favor of a resolution to oppose BDS by an overwhelming majority. The vote was 398 to 17. The resolution decries the BDS movement as an attempt to “undermine the possibility for a negotiated solution” by “demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., suggested the resolution could even push Israel’s opponents to violence.
“My concern with being overly punitive on nonviolent forms of protest is that it forces people into other channels and I would hate to be a part of, you know, paving that kind of path,” she told Buzzfeed News.
Tlaib went on to call the House’s resolution an attack on free speech and Israel’s policies “racist.”
“I stand before you the daughter of Palestinian immigrants,” Tlaib said on the House floor. “Parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights, the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment. I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said the House misunderstood what BDS is all about, calling the House resolution “divisive.”
“I don’t think people fully understood when they signed onto the bill,” she told Buzzfeed News.