Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar on Wednesday appeared to draw parallels between the famed 1773 Boston Tea Party and the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement.
Omar’s comments came the same week she announced a pro-BDS resolution “affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution,” as The Jerusalem Post noted.
According the BDS website, the movement claims “Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes.”
“Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law,” the website’s description adds.
Omar spoke about her resolution from the House floor Wednesday, going so far as to compare the BDS movement, which seeks to boycott Israel, to the Boston Tea Party, in which American colonists dumped imported tea into the ocean as an act of protest against the British government’s “taxation without representation.”
“We should condemn in the strongest terms violence that perpetuates the occupation whether it is perpetuated either by Israel, Hamas or individuals,” Omar said, as the Washington Examiner noted. “But 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.”
That’s when she brought up her pro-BDS resolution, which is co-sponsored by Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
“[The resolution] recognizes the proud history of boycott movements in this country dating back to the Boston Tea Party,” Omar said. “We should honor these movements and that history.”
The text of the resolution makes a similar reference, noting that “boycotts have been effectively used in the United States by advocates for equal rights since the Boston Tea Party.”
Omar’s resolution does not actually mention Israel or the BDS movement by name.
But Omar has said publicly that her goal in introducing the resolution is to bring attention to the BDS movement.
“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,” Omar 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,” she said.
Moreover, as National Review pointed out, Omar introduced the legislation the same week the House Foreign Affairs Committee was set to vote on a separate resolution blasting the BDS movement as part of an attempt “to undermine the two state solution.”
Omar has previously come under fire for remarks many saw as anti-Semitic, suggesting U.S. support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” according to The Daily Caller. Omar also once claimed in a since-deleted tweet that Israel has “hypnotized the world.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.