February 27, 2020

Omar Introduces Pro-BDS Resolution and Compares BDS to Boston Tea Party

U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks at a news conference after Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved to formally condemn President Donald Trump's attacks on the four minority congresswomen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on July 16 and drew an analogy between BDS and the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

The resolution states “that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad” and that anti-BDS legislation is “unconstitutional.” The resolution cites the Boston Tea Party and American efforts to boycott Nazi Germany during World War II as part of the American tradition of boycotts. Omar told Al-Monitor on July 16 the resolution focuses on “the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting. And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

Omar called for the end of Israeli “occupation” as well as a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 17.

“We should condemn in the strongest terms violence that perpetuates the occupation, whether it is perpetuated by Israel, Hamas or individuals,” Omar said. “If we are going to condemn violent means of resisting the occupation, we cannot also condemn nonviolent means. We cannot simultaneously say we want peace, then openly oppose peaceful means to hold our allies accountable.”

Omar then said she introduced the resolution with Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.).

“[The resolution] recognizes the importance of boycott movements in this country dating back to the Boston Tea Party,” Omar said. “We should honor these movements and our history.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) downplayed Omar’s resolution to The Jerusalem Post, saying, “I can’t imagine that any committee is going to mark up or take seriously any pro-BDS resolution.”

Omar initially said she opposed the BDS movement in August while she was still a candidate for Congress, saying at the time that BDS “stops the dialogue” toward a two-state solution. Omar then came out in support of BDS shortly after she was elected to Congress in November.

Omar will also be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks:

This article has been updated.