Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) likened the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement to the American boycott of Nazi Germany during a floor speech on Tuesday.
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American and a supporter of BDS, spoke on the floor about her opposition to a House resolution affirming opposition to the movement. It is likely to pass on a bipartisan basis.
Tlaib said she could not stand by as the "daughter of Palestinian immigrants" and watch an attack on the right to "boycott the racist policies of the government and state of Israel."
"The right to boycott is deeply rooted in the fabric of our country," she said. "What was the Boston Tea Party but a boycott? Where would we be now without the boycott led by the civil rights activists in the 1950s and 60s like the Montgomery bus boycott and the United Farm Workers Grape boycott?"
Tlaib said Americans had a proud history of boycotting foreign governments in the name of human rights.
"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. It sets a dangerous precedent because it attempts to delegitimize a certain people's political speech and to send a message that our government can and will take action against speech it doesn't like."
Tlaib said in May she got a "calming feeling" when she thought of how her ancestors gave up their land to "provide a safe haven for Jews in our world." Although this was historically inaccurate, Tlaib criticized "racist idiots" who took her to task for the comments.
BDS has been condemned as anti-Semitic by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and has links to Palestinian terrorist groups. The Anti-Defamation League describes BDS as a deceitful effort to undermine the Jewish state's existence.