WASHINGTON – The leader of a pro-Israel group says a resolution introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar that affirms the right of Americans to participate in civil and human rights boycotts at home and abroad is specifically designed to promote boycotts against the Jewish state.
“It is conspicuously clear in light of the fact that we see her (Omar’s) enormous enmity toward Israel and toward Jews, and the horrific statements she has made against Israel and Jews in past year-obviously she means Israel and nothing else,” Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) resident Morton Klein told TMN in an interview on Monday.
He added: “Only someone who was born yesterday would think otherwise.”
Omar (D-Minn.) introduced the resolution last week. It is co-sponsored by fellow Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and John Lewis of Georgia.
Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Lewis is a distinguished veteran of the civil rights movement. He was attacked by Alabama law enforcement during a march for voting rights that took place in 1965.
The resolution does not mention Israel. However, it has been praised by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, which advocates a boycott of the Jewish State over its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians. Moreover, both Omar and Tlaib are vocal critics of Israel and have expressed support for the BDS movement.
BDS maintains that it opposes all forms of hate and is dedicated to fighting human rights abuses around the world. The organization categorically denies allegations of anti-Semitism.
Omar’s resolution comes as Congress is expected to soon consider an opposing resolution introduced by Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois that aims to counter the BDS movement and other efforts aimed at delegitimizing Israel.
Schneider’s resolution has overwhelming bipartisan support and is expected to pass. Some of the more progressive-leaning Democrats have said that it violates First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.
It is unclear if the House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on Omar’s resolution.
Omar and Tlaib reportedly are planning to visit Israel during the congressional August recess. Israeli law prohibits entry to those associated with the BDS movement; however, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, has said the congresswomen will be not be barred.
Twenty-seven U.S. states have passed legislation aimed at fighting the BDS movement.
Klein has served as ZOA president since 1993. He is an economist by training and served under Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Klein was born in Germany in 1947. He is the son of Holocaust survivors.
TMN contacted Omar’s office and was declined an immediate comment