Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested on Tuesday night the House resolution affirming opposition to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement could push opponents of Israel to violence.
"My concern with being overly punitive on nonviolent forms of protest is that it forces people into other channels and I would hate to be a part of, you know, paving that kind of path," Ocasio-Cortez told BuzzFeed News.
The House voted in favor of the resolution with overwhelming bipartisan support. The vote was 398 to 17. The resolution states the BDS movement "undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution" by "demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure."
Far-left Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) publicly support the BDS movement and criticized the resolution.
Tlaib called the resolution an attack on the First Amendment and called Israel's policies "racist."
"I can't stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel," Tlaib said on the House floor.
Tlaib then compared the BDS movement to the American boycott of Nazi Germany.
"Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment, and genocide of Jewish people," she said. "In the 1980s, many of us in this very body boycotted South African goods in the fight against apartheid. Our right to free speech is being threatened with this resolution."
Omar dismissed the strong support of the resolution as members failing to understand what the resolution was about.
"I don't think people fully understood when they signed onto the bill," Omar told BuzzFeed News.
Democratic congressman Brad Schneider (D., Ill.) pushed back against Omar and Tlaib's criticism and called the BDS movement "bigoted."