Three out of four members of the Squad voted Tuesday against a resolution to oppose the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The four freshman Democratic congresswomen — representatives Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich — have united around a common identity and sense of solidarity.
The non-binding resolution, H.Res. 246, passed with the support of 209 House Democrats and 189 Republicans. Civil liberties groups and Palestinian rights advocates say it’s an assault on free expression.
Democrats would not have had to take the vote but for the “upstart progressives in their midst,” Commentary Magazine reported.
Last week, Omar and Tlaib introduced a resolution backing BDS under the auspices of supporting the right of anyone to boycott anything. The votes illustrate how unpopular their attempt to legitimize BDS was, Noah Rothman wrote in Commentary Magazine:
“The party’s progressive House freshmen have made a name for themselves by pushing their caucus to the left on a series of issues, one of which is support for America’s strategic alliance with Israel. They pushed too far,” Rothman wrote.
The four lawmakers have ignited the imagination of voters around the U.S., aided by President Donald Trump, who is obsessed with them and has helped keep them in the headlines by sending out racist tweets about them.
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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was one of 17 lawmakers who voted against the legislation while 398 voted for it. Others who voted “no” included Rep. Omar, Rep. Tlaib, and one Republican — Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).
Rep. Pressley voted for it.
Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, said the legislation was comparable to opposing boycotts of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, New York Post reported. Drawing a “moral equivalency” between boycotting Nazi Germany and Israel was “disgraceful,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
“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,” Tlaib said on the House floor.
Rep. Luis Correa (D-Calif.) is a co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Congressional Democrats who identify as centrists.
Support for the bill “demonstrates strong opposition to the global BDS movement, which delegitimizes the state of Israel and pushes peace for both Israelis and Palestinians further out of reach,” Correa said in a statement.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said in a statement, “The Israeli government has shown, over and over, that it will continue to violate Palestinian human rights with impunity. This is precisely why the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement should be protected, and not attacked.”
Omar plans to introduce her own resolution affirming Americans’ rights to participate in boycott movements, NY Post reported.