By Randa Darwish
The US Senate House’s attempt to push through the anti-BDS bill as their first piece legislation has outraged many Americans for contradicting the First Amendment, and second for giving this legislation the priority over finding a solution to the federal shutdown crisis.
On Monday, both Republican Senators of Florida and Idaho, Marco Rubio and James Risch, had pushed through the legislation. Meanwhile, the federal government is beginning the new year with a shutdown with more than 380,000 employees out of work as a result of Trump’s dispute with Congress over Mexico’s wall funding.
For American Jews, discussions on the the legislation took a different angle.
It started as the Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib went to retweet a post by the progressive senator, Bernie Sanders, who first criticized the Senate’s rush into approving the anti-BDS bill.
Tlaib, on her turn, supported Sanders saying saying the senators who proposed the bill have “forgot what country they represent”, where “boycotting is a right and part of our historical fight for freedom and equality.”
And Tlaib’s tweet had ignited the debate.
The Global Jewish Advocacy (AJC) took the chance to respond to her criticism of the anti-BDS bill and accused her of “dual loyalty” as an American-Palestinian who is trying to defend BDS. AJC retweeted an old photo of her while wrapping herself in the Palestinian flag on the day she won November midterm elections in 2018 to prove their argument.
Senator Marco Rubio, who was behind pushing the legislation through the Senate has also responded to Tlaib’s tweet.
While many American Jews rejected the AJC accusations and criticized their claims as it does not offend or relate to them, Talib was asked to apologize for her “offensive” remarks by the AJC.
On the other hand, the attack on Talib was faced by fierce response.
Most if it was led by the progressive American Jewish community. One American Jewish group called “If Not Now” defended Tlaib and called the pro-Israel American Jewish establishment to stop attacking women of color when criticizing Israel or defending Palestine.
One journalist went to point out a time when US President Donald Trump, whose administration is known for strongly supporting Israel, had once praised Israel as “your country” to American Jews.
At one of the White House Hanukkah parties in December 2018, Trump was addressing American Jews that his Vice President Mike Pence had great affection for “your country,” insinuating a dual loyalty to Israel.
In December, two of the most prominent Jewish Senators, Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the Senate leaders urging them not to promote the controversial legislation for the harm it will cause to free speech in the U.S.
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