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Divisions Exposed among Democrats over Israel Support
Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is one of the first Muslim women elected to US Congress. (Wikimedia/Lorie Shaull)

Divisions Exposed among Democrats over Israel Support

The US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee has advanced a bill that rejects the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates cutting off economic ties with companies, entities or individuals maintaining a relationship with Israel. Critics contend that BDS is inherently anti-Semitic, as the movement’s indirect call for a single state rather than two states means the dissolution of Israel and, by extension, an end to the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. House Resolution 246, which also calls for increased security aid to Israel and reiterates the US commitment to a two-state solution, reportedly has the support nearly 350 lawmakers and therefore would easily be approved if brought to the floor for a vote. In response, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the so-called progressive congressional “Squad,” which has been accused of propagating anti-Semitic tropes, introduced a counter-resolution proposing 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.” In a subsequent press conference, Omar revealed that she would be traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. The actions of the “old guard” of the Democratic Party and those of a slew of rising, left-leaning freshman legislators make clear the competing visions within the party on the future of US-Israel ties. Earlier this week, in a series of tweets denouncing “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” – an apparent allusion to Omar and co-ideologues Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) – US President Donald Trump accused some politicians across the aisle of hating Israel “with unbridled passion.” The US leader created a firestorm by calling for the trio to return to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.…”

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