Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attacked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday after the latter criticized the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement in a speech to a pro-Israel group in Washington, DC.
Pelosi told the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC): “We must also be vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy, and that includes BDS.”
She also attacked antisemitism and those who questioned the “loyalty or patriotism” of those who support Israel, a reference to remarks by Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — though she did not mention either by name.
Omar supports BDS — despite telling voters in Minnesota’s congressional district during her election campaign that she did not. The left-wing Forward reported that Omar’s shift was “a bait-and-switch to many Jewish Minnesotans.”
Despite Omar’s position on BDS, and her history of anti-Israel and antisemitic remarks, Pelosi appointed her to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January. When Omar accused that supporters of Israel owe “allegiance to a foreign country,” Pelosi protected Omar by passing a resolution that condemned all forms of hatred but did not focus on antisemitism or single out Omar by name. She later defended Omar as not “intentionally antisemitic.”
Nevertheless, Omar criticized Pelosi on Tuesday for attacking BDS, as quoted by The Hill: “A condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader, and I hope that we find a better use of language when we are trying to speak as members of Congress that are sworn to protect the Constitution.”
Omar was referring to an argument made by BDS activists, who claim anti-BDS legislation punishes free speech and association.
Federal law already discourages participation in international boycotts of Israel. Most new anti-BDS laws, which have been adopted by dozens of states, prevent state governments from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
One federal court found that a Kansas anti-BDS law violated the First Amendment when applied to a public employee; another upheld an Arkansas anti-BDS law, ruling that the law did not implicate free speech rights.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.