Omar: Anti-BDS Measure Is 'Unconstitutional,' U.S. Must 'Oppose Oppression Wherever It Might Exist'

January 14, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) on Sunday derided "unconstitutional" legislation that would allow state and local governments to refuse to do business with U.S. companies that boycott Israel.

"Final thoughts on one other bill that made its way through the Senate and was on the Senate agenda, and it includes provisions supporting state efforts to force some companies and people to pledge to oppose efforts to boycott the state of Israel," MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) introduced the "Combatting BDS Act," a measure contained in the "Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019" to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which wages economic boycotts on the Jewish state and its people. The legislation stalled in the Senate this month, however, because of an ongoing partial government shutdown. Democrats are blocking any other bills from being considered until the shutdown is resolved.

"I know after your election you came out in support of boycott efforts, but you had some critics. They say you were vague about that during the election. How do you respond to your critics, and how would you vote if that bill makes its way to the House today?" Mohyeldin asked.

"I was not vague about that issue. I actually did get an opportunity to vote on a state version of that bill, and I voted no. It is unconstitutional," Omar responded. "One of the strongest ideals of this nation is that people have an ability to freely express themselves, and I really have [a] strong belief in the First Amendment."

Her view of the measure reflects that of a fellow freshman congresswoman, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), who last week said it was an "attack on our Constitution."

Omar came out against BDS when she was running for Congress, but shortly after being elected, she revealed she supports the movement.

She also appeared to insinuate on Sunday that Israel is guilty of oppression.

"I know that so many of the progresses[sic] that this nation has achieved came about because people were willing to speak up and ask for change, and so we cannot here in the United States say to people that they can't raise their voice, that they can't use the resources that they have to oppose oppression wherever it might exist," she said.

Omar has a history of making controversial statements in regards to Israel. She claims the country has "hypnotized the world" and is an "apartheid regime."

Published under: BDS , Ilhan Omar