Inslee Opposes Anti-BDS House Resolution

'I believe freedom of speech must be defended'

Gov. Jay Inslee (Left) and Abdul El-Sayed (Right)/ Twitter Screenshot
July 30, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate and Washington governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday morning signaled that he would have opposed the House anti-BDS resolution.

Inslee met with Muslim leaders during an event at the Islamic Center of Detroit ahead of Tuesday night's debate, including Michigan's failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul el-Sayed. The event with Inslee was moderated by Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Walid, who previously said that Jews "incur the wrath of Allah" and headlined a BDS rally, asked Inslee whether he supports Americans having the right to participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. While Inslee said he doesn't agree with everything the BDS movement stands for, he supports freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Washington Post reporter David Weigel tweeted out Inslee's response.

While Inslee is now opposed to the anti-BDS resolution, he used to oppose BDS. Back in 2017, he was one of the 50 governors who signed on to the American Jewish Committee's Governors United Against BDS initiative.

"The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states. They seek to isolate Israel—a pluralistic nation with deep cultural, familial, security, educational, scientific and commercial bonds with our state and with the United States as a whole—rather than recognize the profound mutual benefits of our engagement with it," the AJC statement read. "They malign a trusted ally that, while forced to defend itself against repeated and ongoing attempts to annihilate it, has consistently extended its hand in peace to its Palestinian neighbors and to states across the Middle East and around the world."

A House anti-BDS resolution received overwhelming bipartisan support last week with a 398 to 17 vote. The resolution says 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," as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

While the bill received overwhelming support from Democrats, pro-Palestine Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) publicly support the BDS movement and have been critical of the resolution.

Tlaib 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 was also critical of the resolution, saying she didn't believe her Democratic colleagues knew what they were supporting.

"I don't think people fully understood when they signed onto the bill," Omar told BuzzFeed News.