WASHINGTON, D.C. – A global movement against Israel called Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – or BDS – is gathering strength in Congress. But one group is out to put the brakes on this anti-Israel push.
Their attempt to protect Israel comes as Israelis celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state amid renewed Palestinian protests and recent rocket attacks. Palestinian activists protesting Israel's existence – it's just one part of the growing anti-Israel movement.
"There's a rising trend in anti-Semitism across the world," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Republican leaders want to force a vote that would protect Israel from BDS.
"The BDS movement seeks to prevent individuals, private companies, and even entire countries from doing business with Israel firms. The ultimate aim is to exclude, isolate, and delegitimize Israel," McCarthy said.
Instead, GOP lawmakers want to give state and local governments permission to refuse work with companies involved in BDS.
"You have members of Congress expressing anti-Semitic views on a regular basis now and also embracing and supporting this boycott and divestment movement," explained House Minority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).
Scalise believes Israelis wouldn't be the only ones hurt by the BDS movement.
"The BDS movement would hurt Palestinians who are making good wages," he noted.
A bipartisan proposal to counter BDS passed the Senate with 77 votes in February but hit a roadblock in the House of Representatives.
House lawmakers hope a forced vote will reignite that legislative option.
"There's an opportunity for those Democrats who believe in standing up to anti-Semitism to do so. Do not let your leadership stop you," McCarthy challenged them.
Lawmakers say the bill is necessary to contend with a growing voice in Congress supporting the anti-Israel movement.
"We should not have to be talking about a member of Congress who time after time after time is making anti-Semitic remarks," said US Rep. Lee Zelden (R-NY).
Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) have come under consistent criticism this year for repeated verbal attacks and smears against Israel.