Republican New York Rep. Lee Zeldin scolded Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar on Wednesday after she introduced a resolution affirming Americans’ right to isolate Israel through Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
“My colleague who just spoke used the frequent use of the words ‘honesty’ and ‘honest.’ Let’s just get to a lot of what is left out,” Zeldin responded to Omar’s testimony during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
“The BDS movement has not distanced itself from Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. BDS supporters individually are not distancing themselves from Hamas either,” he continued. “It is wrong to be blaming all Israeli and Palestinian violence ‘as being due to an occupation.’”
The BDS movement seeks to punish the Jewish state of Israel by politically and economically depriving the country for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians. The movement initially metastasized through college campuses and is described by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.”
While the resolution that Omar put forth does not mention the movement by name, it guarantees that all Americans have the right to “participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad” and is largely seen as a response to anti-BDS legislation that has been circulating in the legislature, reported The Jerusalem Post.
During the Foreign Affairs committee meeting, Omar urged her colleagues to support the resolution, comparing it to the American civil rights movement and the Boston Tea Party.
“[The resolution] recognizes the proud history of boycott movements in this country dating back to the Boston Tea Party. We should honor these movements and that history,” Omar said. “We should honor our commitment to the principles that say we must hold our friends to the same standards that we hold our adversaries.”
“Hamas uses women and children as human shields,” Zeldin replied, noting that a senior Hamas official called upon Palestinians worldwide to kill all Jews only a week ago. “They declare jihad as an obligation. They deny humanitarian aid to their own people. They deny human rights, launching rockets from Gaza into Israel, killing innocent civilians.”
“Existential threats to Israel [are] all around it,” he continued. “[Israel is] our greatest ally in the Middle East, one that there’s been a historic relationship between our two nations — a beacon of hope and freedom and liberty in a region of the world that is filled with challenges.”
Omar became one of America’s first Muslim congresswomen when sworn into office in 2018. She has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism since even prior to taking office.
The Minnesotan has defended her past anti-Israel statements such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel’s “evil doings.” Since taking office, she has promoted age-old anti-Semitic canards such as that Jews’ support of Israel is purchased and that they have a dual loyalty to Israel and the United States.
“We want to be neutral arbiters, let’s not deny our right and our duty to also be honest brokers,” Zeldin said. “To spend an entire time in justifying opposition to [anti-BDS legislation] based off of everything that’s wrong is all due to the Israeli occupation, why not point out the fact that in 2008 Israel offered to withdraw from 93% of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank?”
“Or what about our students on college campuses right now from coast to coast being targeted with blatant anti-Semitism in the name of BDS? Or taking into consideration the founder of BDS and all of his blatant anti-Semitism, or the Palestinian Authority’s pray to slay?” he continued. “They financially reward terrorism.”
“Israel as our great ally should be supported,” Zeldin added before his time expired.