Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar yesterday introduced a resolution co-sponsored by Rashida Tlaib and civil rights icon and Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis that aims to protect the Boycott Divestment Sanction movement that targets Israeli companies.
The resolution states 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.”
It will likely fail in the House where many Democrats receive healthy campaign donations from the pro-Israel lobby and oppose free speech when it comes to criticizing Israel. The pro-Israel lobby is the strongest foreign lobby, and holds incredible sway over Congress members.
The bill was introduced ahead of an upcoming vote on a resolution to condemn the BDS movement.The latter has 336 co-sponsors, including many members of the Democratic House leadership.
Tlaib tweeted last week that the resolution was designed "to silence opposition of Israel's blatantly racist policies that demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians."
"Our 1st Amd. right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies. This bill is unconstitutional," she added.
.@HouseForeign wants to move forward w/ #HR246 #AntiBDS bill to silence opposition of Israel's blatantly racist policies ⬇️ that demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 10, 2019
Our 1st Amd. right to free speech allows boycott of inhumane policies. This bill is unconstitutional. https://t.co/6VJUtBbogy
Though the House resolution and a similar one in the Senate are largely symbolic, pro-Israel politicians have sought to pass actual laws that criminalize support of BDS, and government workers in some states are required to pledge loyalty to Israel. Such legislation, however, has been found to be unconstitutional by three federal courts, and is widely opposed by free speech advocates on the right and left.
In Michigan, there's no shortage of pro-Israel lobby-funded politicians who are putting Israel over the First Amendment.
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