US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar pushes pro-BDS House bill

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar pushes pro-BDS House bill
2 min read
17 July, 2019
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill affirming that Americans have the right to participate in boycotts.
Ilhan Omar will visit Palestine and Israel [Getty]
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has introduced a bill affirming that Americans have the right to participate in boycotts.


Omar, along with Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, put forward the motion which aims to disempower "unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad".

The bill endorses the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement by "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".

In the motion, the first two Muslim congresswomen "urge Congress, States, and civil rights leaders from all communities to endeavour to preserve the freedom of advocacy for all by opposing anti-boycott resolutions and legislation."

Whilst BDS in the US has not been outlawed, the movement is highly frowned upon in the country’s political class, marginalising pro-Palestine voices.

In April, Washington barred Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti from entering the country for his boycott of Israel.

The nonviolent BDS movement says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking to put an end to Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank.

Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism – a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.

But BDS, which adheres to peaceful resistance, aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law and human rights by lobbying various states, institutions and personas to understand its oppression of Palestinians and take action as a result.

The peaceful movement operates by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel with supporters saying activities are aimed at promoting a Palestinian statehood.

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