US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) condemned the House Foreign Affairs Committee for considering a resolution condemning the anti-Israel BDS movement.
The resolution seeks “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,” tweeted the freshman congresswoman.
The resolution currently has 336 co-sponsors. It was introduced by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).
Tlaib is not on the Foreign Affairs Committee, unlike fellow freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota. They both support BDS, which “is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity,” according to the movement’s website.
Republican lawmakers criticized Tlaib’s stance.
“This is a 100% false characterization of the bill. It doesn’t ban the #BDS movement. All it does it protect states & local governments that decide not to give contracts to companies participating in that anti-Semitic movement,” tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“There’s strong Republican support for it, so whatever Democrats are lost we’ll make up,” said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
A bill called the Combating BDS Act would, if enacted, allow state and local governments the right to punish state or local contractors from engaging in boycotting Israel. It has sparked opposition from some Democrats and the American Civil Liberties Union, which has said that it would violate the First Amendment.
The bill has stalled in the lower chamber, where House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in May that it will go forwards “in the relatively near future.”
“The [House Foreign Affairs Committee] is considering this, and I expect to be moving something out of the committee in the relatively near future,” he said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
House Republican lawmakers launched a discharge petition to force a vote on the House floor on the Senate legislation, which passed the upper chamber in February. The petition currently has 196 cosponsors, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told the annual Christians United for Israel summit in Washington, DC, on Monday.
To force a vote would require 218 representatives to sign onto the petition.