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House Opposes Israel Boycott in Overwhelmingly Bipartisan Vote

July 24, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The House overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday co-sponsored by Representative Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., opposing an international effort to boycott Israel.

The vote on H. Res. 236, opposing the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement that targets Israel, was 398-17.

In April, the Murphy-led House Blue Dog Coalition, a group of pragmatic Democrats who focus on fiscal responsibility and national security, endorsed H. Res. 246 and urged House leadership to put the bill on the House floor before Congress recesses for the August district work period.

“The BDS movement makes a just peace harder, moving us away from negotiations that could lead to a two-state solution and greater security in the Middle East,” Murphy said on Tuesday.

“This bipartisan resolution clearly shows why the House opposes an effort that vilifies Israel, blaming it—and it alone—for this complex conflict. American citizens have the right to boycott, and boycotts can promote positive change, but the BDS movement is misguided and harmful—and we should say so unequivocally,” she said.

House Democrats have been eager to vote to show support for Israel amid Republican efforts to define the party ahead of the 2020 elections by its most liberal members.

Representatives Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., two newly elected Muslim Americans, have spoken out about the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, as they criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, particularly in the occupied territories.

Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Representative Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said the issue had been politicized “in a way that I find ugly and ultimately harmful to the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Engel, a supporter of the resolution, is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

An earlier version of the resolution passed the Senate earlier this year, also with significant bipartisan support.

However the Senate resolution stalled in the House over concerns about First Amendment rights and the ability of Americans to protest Israel’s policies.

In a written statement released after the House vote, Representative Luis Correa, D-Calif., said “a strong U.S.-Israel alliance is essential to our shared security interests, it upholds our shared values, and it maintains our deep historical connection.

“The overwhelming bipartisan support for this resolution demonstrates the United States Congress’ unwavering support for a two-state solution as way to justly resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deliver peace to the region,” Correa continued. ‘It also demonstrates strong opposition to the global BDS movement, which delegitimizes the state of Israel and pushes peace for both Israelis and Palestinians further out of reach. As Blue Dogs, we know that a strong U.S.-Israel alliance means a strong national security for both countries, and that’s why we were proud to endorse this bipartisan resolution. Now, both the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate have made it clear to the world on where we stand.”

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