Washington, DC (QNN)- The United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution on Tuesday condemning the Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS).
Supporters of the bill argued that BDS movement “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”
But opponents say that even though the resolution is non-binding, “it still very troubling”.
“They are misguided with this resolution. Americans have a right to protest,” said Abed Ayoub, the national policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, according to Al Jazeera.
“BDS itself is working to end the oppression of Palestinians and what Israel does to allow that to happen. It is pushing for Israel to comply with international law. So there is nothing wrong with the BDS movement,” Ayoub told Al Jazeera. “The issue here is the aggressions and the policies put forward by Israel and how we are turning a blind eye on those as a nation. There should be resolutions against the occupation, against the checkpoints and other human rights violations Israel is perpetrating on Palestinians.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib delivered a speech in defense of the boycott movement. She branded Israel’s policies toward Palestinians “racist” and invoked American boycotts of Nazi Germany, among others, as an example of what she described as a legitimate economic protest to advance human rights around the world.
“I stand before you as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights, the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment,” Ms. Tlaib said. “So 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.”
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or B.D.S., movement is intended, among other things, to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank, and backed by some who advocate a single state with equal rights for all, instead of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Opponents warn it would lead to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state; during Tuesday’s debate, they repeatedly quoted from a founder of the movement, Omar Barghouti, who has argued for the creation of a “secular democratic state” and has called for Israel to “accept the dismantling of its Zionist apartheid regime.”
Last week, Omar introduced House Resolution 496 affirming the American right to boycott. The resolution doesn’t specifically refer to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and is heralded by the BDS movement as a “ground-breaking resolution” that defends “freedom of expression and the right of oppressed communities… to peacefully fight for their rights.”
Omar’s bill is co-sponsored by nine other Democratic representatives, including Pressley, civil rights activist John Lewis and New Jersey Representative Donald Payne. However, these three voted for the anti-BDS bill yesterday, raising questions about their positions on the issue.