Republican House leaders revealed the caucus’s strategy to oppose efforts to isolate Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement amid rising anti-Semitism within the Democratic Party.
The BDS movement seeks to punish the Jewish state of Israel by politically and economically depriving the country for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians. BDS initially metastasized through college campuses and has been linked to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The Anti-Defamation League describes the BDS movement as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence” and it is now supported by progressive members of Congress.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Wednesday that a discharge petition would be available to allow members to vote on the House version of Senate Bill 1 (SB.1) with only an absolute majority. SB.1 enables a state or local government to adopt measures to divest its assets from entities using BDS to influence Israel’s policies.
McCarthy contended that opposition to BDS is not a partisan issue. Rather, SB.1 was cosponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and passed in the Senate in February with 77 votes.
“We ask just 21 Democrats to join with what the rest of the nation expects from their leaders,” McCarthy said during the press conference. “Especially those who are elected to office — to stand for what is right and stand up against the appalling history we have found and to stand against the growing anti-Semitism going around this nation.”
GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney further sounded the alarm on the rise of anti-Semitism both around the world as well as within the United States government. (RELATED: Cheney Fires Back After Omar Accuses Her Of Lying: ‘Anti-Semitic Socialist’)
“We’ve seen a rise in anti-Semitic violence globally over the course of the last several years,” Cheney said. “We are now seeing a rise in the very halls of Congress in a kind of vitriolic and vile anti-Semitism — comments like you’ve seen from [Democratic Minnesota] Rep. Ilhan Omar and [Democratic Michigan] Rep. Rashida Tlaib.”
Omar and Tlaib are America’s first Muslim congresswomen and have been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism and anti-American sentiments. Most recently, Tlaib faced criticism for both using the word “calming” when describing her feelings toward the Holocaust, as well as incorrectly stating that Palestinians provided a “safe haven” for the Jewish people.
In reality, Palestinians massacred Jews during the Holocaust and started a revolt against the British to prevent Jews from entering. Arab factions allied with the Nazis during World War II.
“We had been in a situation where we’d watch Democratic leadership enable that anti-Semitic set of viewpoints by their inaction … but on Monday, you saw something different — something different and extremely troubling,” Cheney continued. “That was when you had Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Majority Leader [Steny] Hoyer not just enable anti-Semitism by their silence, but actually stand up and defend it.”
Minority Whip Steve Scalise noted that the rise in support for the BDS movement echoes the rise in anti-Semitic views expressed in Congress.
“The reason that BDS is such a concern is that it’s an attempt to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state,” Scalise added. “To literally cut the legs out of Israel as a country that has a thriving economy.”
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