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Ilhan Omar Introduces Pro-BDS Congressional Resolution

Representative Ilhan Omar introduced on Tuesday a Congressional resolution defending the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

The resolution does not explicitly mention Israel, but does state that “all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad” and criticizes anti-boycott legislation that has been passed in more than half of the 50 states. (Some of those laws have been overturned for violating the First Amendment.)

“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our first amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” the Democrat from Minnesota told Al-Monitor. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

The resolution’s preamble mentions the history of American boycott campaigns, including boycotts of Nazi products during the 1930s and the campaign to divest from apartheid South Africa.

Omar’s two co-sponsors are fellow Democrats John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights icon who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who along with Omar are the only two members of Congress to support the BDS movement.

Democratic leaders are reportedly planning to soon introduce their own resolution condemning the BDS movement. That resolution has 340 co-sponsors.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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