Following the silly controversy over her profanity-laced call for President Trump’s impeachment, freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has unleashed an anti-Semitic dual loyalty smear in voicing opposition to legislation combating boycotts against Israel, charging supporters of the bill “forgot what country they represent.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has signaled that the legislation, part of a package of bills related to Middle East policy, would be the first that the newly sworn in Senate would vote on. It would provide more leeway for state and local governments to refuse to do business with entities that have a policy of boycotting, divesting, and/or sanctioning Israel.
There is a fair debate to be had about the balancing act between combating the BDS movement and free speech, though opponents of the legislation also have to grapple with the fact that existing laws prevent governments from contracting with businesses that engage in discriminatory practices, and the movement to boycott Israeli Jews certainly is discriminatory.
Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland attempted this weekend to make a separate process argument against the bill, arguing that the Senate should not take up any business unrelated to ending the partial government shutdown.
But Tlaib obliterated that messaging strategy when she pulled out the anti-Semitic guns, saying advocates of the bill “forgot what country they represent.” The idea of Jews as having divided loyalty, and of using their influence to convince others to act against the interests and principles of their own country, is an age-old anti-Semitic trope.