In a rare showing of bipartisan agreement, the Valley’s congressional delegation unanimously approved a non-binding resolution opposing the Israel boycott movement Tuesday.
The tally in the House: 398 for the resolution, 17 opposed.
— Jim Costa
“The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is an overt attempt to isolate and weaken our ally, and should be directly and vigorously opposed,” Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) said in a statement.
“Attacking the economic and cultural stability of Israel does nothing to improve the well-being of the Palestinian people and is counterproductive to achieving a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
A Resolution Birthed in Controversy
H.R. 246 was introduced in March amid Democratic Party division over comments and tweets by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia when she was a child. Her opinions were criticized as being anti-Semitic.
Omar, as well as Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, strongly support the BDS movement and criticized the resolution. Omar, Tlaib, and fellow first-term Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York opposed the resolution Tuesday.
Republicans have amplified the views of the Democrats’ left flank to portray the party as deeply divided and at odds with Israel.
Several House Democrats and Republicans joined together to voice their support of the resolution on the House floor.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), the majority leader, had promised lawmakers the bill would come up for a vote before the August recess. It’s a way to shield House Democrats from continued Republican efforts to attack them around the issue of Israel, according to a Hoyer aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Resolution Backs Two-State Solution
In addition to denouncing the global BDS movement, the resolution affirmed the United States’ strong support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Costa’s office said.
Joining Costa in backing the resolution: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove), TJ Cox (D-Fresno), and Josh Harder (D-Turlock).
The House additionally passed two bills — H.R. 1837 and H.R. 1850 — that reinforce U.S. support of Israel while laying the groundwork for peace and economic prosperity in the region, Costa’s office said.
Omar Calls for ‘Truly Achieving Peace’
Omar said she supports the long-held U.S. goal of a two-state solution, one for Israel and one for Palestine. But she said during a committee hearing last week that “truly achieving peace” means ending Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians, particularly in the occupied territories.
The resolution has been pushed by AIPAC, the influential Israel lobby in Washington. J Street, a more liberal group in the progressive Jewish community, had opposed an earlier Senate version but supported the House’s approach.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.