On Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) threatened to cut off security assistance to Israel under Senate Bill 1 unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell begins to push the budget bills necessary for a government re-opening. The bill itself allows state and local governments to stop doing business with companies that boycott Israel, in much the same way state and local governments have authority to stop doing business with companies that engage in racial discrimination. While some have expressed free speech concerns with the bill, suggesting that companies that boycott Israel are merely expressing their First Amendment rights, the bill itself raises few First Amendment concerns – or at least, it raises concerns only insofar as government anti-discrimination policies with regard to contractors raise First Amendment concerns more generally.
The real rationale behind Schumer’s block-and-tackling has to do with the Democratic Party’s newfound warmth toward anti-Semitism. Boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel is textbook anti-Semitism – it singles out Israel for treatment no other nation undergoes, it has little or nothing to do with Israeli “settlement” policy, and it is largely pushed by people who would love to see Israel disappear. Among those people: new Democratic star Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), as well as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who refuses to answer regarding her personal position on BDS but supports others who support BDS.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted this today:
How do you know Rubio is right? Check out Tlaib’s anti-Semitic canard suggesting that those who support the bill are guilty of dual loyalty to Israel:
It’s also fascinating that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has questioned whether outspoken Christians can serve in government, suddenly has drawn the line with regard to Israel and free speech:
The truth is that the Democratic Party has been flirting with, and in some cases openly embracing, anti-Semitism for years. That’s why top members of the Democratic Party continue to kowtow to open anti-Semites like Linda Sarsour and Louis Farrakhan; it’s why the Democrats booed Jerusalem in the 2012 Democratic National Committee platform; it’s why the Obama administration routinely played public relations arm for the Iranian government; it’s why no major Democrat will go on record condemning Tlaib or Ilhan Omar, who was responsible for this doozy of a tweet:
This isn’t about reopening the government for Democrats. It’s about avoiding a vote that will demonstrate to Americans that the Democratic Party has largely turned against Israel, and that a heavy percentage of Democrats are now supportive of anti-Semitism so long as that anti-Semitism is couched in anti-Israel terminology.