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'Its Goal is Israel's Elimination': Pro-Israel Democrats Urge Colleagues to Condemn Boycotts Against Israel – But There Could Be a Problem

03-22-2019

Democrats may be gearing up for another internal showdown over the issue of Israel and the Jewish people. 
 
A pair of pro-Israel Democrats in the US House of Representatives are pushing a new measure to condemn the global "Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions" (BDS) movement against the Jewish state. 
 
Politico reports that House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) sent a letter to colleagues Thursday  describing the BDS movement's attempts to strangle Israel's economy as an "overly-simplistic and one-sided approach."

"Its goal is Israel's elimination, not the criticism of any particular policy of Israel," they wrote. 
 
The measure could expose a deep ideological rift in the Democratic Party. New members like Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) openly support BDS and have been accused of being anti-Semitic. 
 
Two weeks ago, the Democratic Party was embroiled in conflict over its decision to condemn Omar's repeated statements about Israel and the Jewish people. 
 
In 2012, the Somali-born congresswoman tweeted, "Israel has hypnotized the world. May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel." 
 
Last month, she appeared on a news program and accused Israel of not being a real democracy because it is a Jewish State. She also wrote that US support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins baby" and implied that Jewish organizations like AIPAC have bribed American lawmakers.
 
Her remark drew bipartisan criticism and a rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
 
However, House Democrats refused to mention Omar by name when passing a resolution denouncing all forms of bigotry. Voices on all sides of the political spectrum accused Democrats of failing to take a strong enough stance against anti-Semitism in their party. 
 
Others swiftly came to Omar's defense and accused her critics of being Islamophobic. 
 
Meanwhile, Tlaib has been accused of invoking the classic anti-Semitic "dual loyalty" trope by tweeting earlier this year that those who seek to criminalize BDS "forgot what country they represent."
 
Israel and anti-Semitism are also becoming key issues among Democratic presidential candidates running in 2020. 
 
Multiple candidates said Thursday that they will not attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference in Washington next week.
 
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, are among the 2020 contenders who have refused to attend. 
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to visit the White House next week and will appear at this year's conference. 
 
A number of Democratic political leaders, including Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are also expected to participate.
 

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