November 13, 2019

Tlaib Says House Voted for Anti-BDS Bill Without Understanding Israel-Palestinian Conflict

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) reacts to testimony by Yazmin Juarez, mother of 19-month-old Mariee, who died after detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); during a House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services hearing titled, "Kids in Cages: Inhumane Treatment at the Border" in Washington, U.S. July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) told reporters on July 24 that the House of Representatives voted for the anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) resolution on July 23 despite not having a firm grasp of the nuances of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Jewish Insider reports.

Tlaib, who came out in favor of a one-state solution in August, said that she has talked to some in the House who “don’t know what you’re talking about” when it comes to a two-state solution. She added that she “had a colleague ask me what the blockade in [the Gaza Strip] means… another person actually signed onto the anti-BDS bill not understanding [it], but because they saw so many colleagues on there, they said it must be important.”

She went on to say that people need to fight against the Israeli government’s “racist policies,” saying those who are denied entry through the Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv is the equivalent of “segregation. People say to me they go through Tel Aviv, through Ben-Gurion Airport, and they hardly see Palestinians there and I think that’s very intentional.”

The House overwhelmingly voted in favor of the anti-BDS resolution by a vote of 398 in favor, 17 against and 5 abstentions. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a resolution on July 16 supporting the right to boycott that she said serves as the basis for supporting BDS.

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a phone interview that by supporting BDS, Tlaib is “signaling that she wants to build her campaign on something that is anti-Semitic” since BDS singles out and demonizes the Jewish State of Israel.

“The overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans voted against BDS,” Cooper said. “Maybe it’s not their lack of knowledge, maybe it’s her own personal prejudices that blinds her to the real possibility for a new Middle East.”

The Progressive Zionists of California said in a statement to the Journal, “We are glad to see the House vote reaffirm the need for a two-state solution. While Tlaib may be comfortable advocating for a one state solution that will likely result in the deaths of millions of Israelis and Palestinians, and potentially leave half of the world’s Jewish population stateless; we believe that two states for two peoples is the only just solution. It guarantees Palestinian self-determination and insists that Israel’s security not be compromised. Any iteration of the one-state solution will lead to civil war—something no serious or responsible progressive should support.”