Leaders in the Atlanta Jewish community seem pleased with a new resolution overwhelmingly passed by Congress last week that condemns the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
The vote came exactly a week after six U.S. Democratic representatives, including two controversial congresswomen and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, co-sponsored another resolution that affirms Americans’ right to boycott. Lewis voted with the majority on the anti-BDS resolution July 23.
We asked a few community leaders what they thought about that resolution.
The Anti-Defamation League had this to say. “Resolution 246 reflects ADL’s deep commitment to standing up to efforts to delegitimize Israel, including through BDS campaigns,” said Allison Padilla-Goodman, ADL Southeast regional director.
“We welcome the important bipartisan, overwhelming congressional reaffirmation to direct negotiations between the parties leading to keeping alive the pursuit of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a time when ADL has been critical of efforts to politicize anti-Semitism or use support for Israel or the Jewish people as a tool to score political points, this wide bipartisan vote is encouraging.”
Padilla-Goodman said that the significance of the passage of House Resolution 246 “is that 398 members of the House of Representatives stood up to make clear their opposition to BDS, highlighting the problematic aspects of BDS’ root ideology – which is to deny Jewish self-determination – in a constitutionally sound manner, while promoting a pathway to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. The leadership shown by these Congressional leaders will reinforce and strengthen ADL’s response to BDS.”
Renee Evans is on the board of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel and Overseas board of the Jewish Federations of North America. She called the overwhelming bipartisan passage of the anti-BDS resolution “spectacular” and “absolutely fabulous.”
“I think it shows our support for Israel. I think it silences hateful rhetoric going on in our country and brings cohesion to our political system,” Evans said.
“It helps us stand for Israel. It helps us stand as a country in the U.N., continue our policies and [say] that we are not going to allow Israel to be stampeded, belittled or persecuted,” she said.
“Israel has the right to exist and Israel will stand. Without Israel, Judaism will fail. We are interconnected.”
In light of the anti-BDS resolution approved last week, we asked Evans about the effectiveness of the pro-boycott resolution, House Resolution 496, introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar July 16.
It had nine supporters when H. Res. 246 was passed and 14 co-sponsors at press time. Lewis was one of two original co-sponsors with Rashida Tlaib, whose family is Palestinian.
In terms of Lewis’ support of both resolutions, Evans said, “You’re either in one camp or the other. You can’t be in both.”
That’s because H. Res. 496 is an excuse to promote the BDS movement, she said.
“I fully believe the BDS movement is for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
She said the majority of Jews “have no idea what the BDS movement is and why it exists. It is more than boycotting goods. The intention of the BDS movement is the financial strangulation of the State of Israel leading to her collapse and destruction. Part of it is to also expose lists of businesses and institutions doing business with Israel, then boycotting them as well. It is a worldwide movement and a very hate-based, dangerous thing.”
\While the anti-BDS resolution does not carry the weight of law, those interviewed agree it sends a clear message of U.S support for Israel.