A Small Victory against BDS in Congress, but Further Battles Remain

July 26 2019

After the determinedly anti-Israel congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib introduced a resolution defending the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS), Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more mainstream Democrats responded with a resolution condemning BDS—which was passed by a crushing bipartisan majority. Jonathan Tobin warns, however, that this victory over anti-Semitism may be only a temporary one:

The House had an opportunity to deal decisively with this issue earlier this year when both Omar and Tlaib made anti-Semitic statements in which they accused American Jews of dual loyalty to Israel and stated that supporters of the Jewish state had bought Congress. . . . [T]hat should have been enough to motivate Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership to strip the pair of their committee assignments and to pass a resolution rebuking them by name. But with the very vocal Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others on the left springing to their defense, Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats were cowed into backing down.

Rather than being isolated, Omar and Tlaib became the darlings of the mainstream media, as well as fodder for late-night shows where they were given laudatory coverage and fawning interviews. Their undeserved status as popular heroines was only enhanced when earlier, this month, President Trump denounced the two congresswomen and suggested that they “go back where they came from.”

Had Pelosi chosen to let the House vote on the Senate’s [more muscular anti-BDS] bill, it’s likely that it, too, would have passed overwhelmingly. But loath to stand up to liberals who have bought into the false arguments about the Senate bill violating free-speech rights of BDS supporters, the only measure that she allowed to come to a vote was a resolution without any penalties for those who engage in the kind of discriminatory actions that should be considered just as illegal as bias rooted in race, sex, or sexual orientation.

[S]o long as Ocasio-Cortes, Omar, Tlaib, and others making egregious comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany are still being treated as the “future of the Democratic party”—in the words of the Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez—and benefiting from being the objects of Trump’s Twitter abuse, the BDS movement they support won’t be confined to the fever swamps of American politics.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at JNS

More about: BDS, Congress, Democrats, Donald Trump, Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, Rashida Tlaib

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media