Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) continued to call Sen. Marco Rubio's (R., Fla.) bill concerning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel "anti-First Amendment" during a podcast interview released Thursday.
"Do you know what we’ve done in this country with the right to boycott, what we’ve done in this country with the right to speak up and to protest and to say we disagree with this country and their doings? You look at Apartheid. You look at all the, you know, anti-blackness in our country and what we’ve been able to try to do to push back against that, you know, I don’t even call it an anti-B — I call it anti-First Amendment, anti-speech bill," Tlaib said on the Intercept‘s "Deconstructed" podcast.
Rubio's legislation would permit state and local governments to boycott companies that do the same to Israel. He has defended his bill against Democratic critics who claim the bill violates constitutional rights.
"My bill doesn’t punish any political activity. It protects the right of local [and] state [governments] that decide to no longer do business with those who boycott
#Israel," Rubio tweeted earlier this month.
This is a lie.
My bill doesn’t punish any political activity. It protects the right of local & state govts that decide to no longer do business with those who boycott #Israel.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 7, 2019
Tlaib, who began speaking out in opposition of the anti-BDS measure earlier this month, accused supporters of the legislation of forgetting which country they represent, drawing charges of anti-Semitism. Charging Jewish Americans with being loyal to Israel as opposed to the United States is a classic anti-Semitic canard.
They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away. https://t.co/KkmqjR58ZM
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 7, 2019
Interviewer Mehdi Hasan asked Tlaib about her comments.
"But the dual loyalty trope is an anti-Semitic trope. You weren’t referring to that, presumably," Hasan said.
"It’s ridiculous for those to somehow, the desperation and trying to tie that somehow, that I’m somehow anti-Semitic," Tlaib responded. "It’s absolutely ridiculous. And to me, it was very much trying to deter the fact that they know, even those that understand that BDS is very much a right in our country to be able to say we want to boycott someone a country based on their political beliefs or their policies."
Tlaib also said the annual military aid package the U.S. gives to Israel should be used "as leverage."
"It has to be for leverage. We do it to states all the time where we say: ‘Look, if we —' and I can tell you, I mean, people know this. If we are going to tell states they have to support the Civil Rights Act, they have to support the, you know, same-sex marriage, anything that we believe in, we say: ‘Okay, you want this money, then you’re going to have to support these values. You’re going to have to support the federal law,'" Tlaib said.
"If we’re not doing that to Israel, Saudi Arabia and other countries, then we’re not doing our job as a country," she continued.