A resolution affirming that Americans have the right to participate in the boycott of foreign countries has four new cosponsors, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
H.Res.496 was introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) earlier this month. Although the text of the resolution doesn’t mention Israel or Palestine, it’s been interpreted as a response to the growing number of bills that target the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). “We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our first amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” she told the website Al-Monitor, “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
In addition to Ocasio-Cortez signing onto the legislation, the bill also obtained backing from Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA). The bill now has fourteen cosponsors.
Earlier this week the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the BDS movement. Omar and Ocasio-Cortez were 2 of the 17 lawmakers to vote against it and the amount of Representatives cosponsoring Omar’s bill has more than doubled since that vote. Republicans in the House are now pushing for a vote on H.R.336, a bill that would provide legal cover for states that adopt anti-BDS laws.
Last month Ocasio-Cortez became a cosponsor of H.R.2407, a bill that would prohibit U.S. funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel.