RNA - “Israel has a stranglehold on US foreign policy,” Myles Hoenig, a former Green Party candidate, told Press TV, “One cannot speak out against its policies without fear of losing one’s job, if they are in the media, or their career, if they are in academia or government service.”
On Tuesday, the House voted 398-17 in favor of a non-binding resolution that opposed the BDS movement, which seeks to force Israel abandon its crimes against the people of Palestine and end its occupation of their lands.
Hoenig said the vote shouldn’t surprise anybody as freedom of speech has long been “arbitrary in America.”
“What makes this unique is that this resolution violates some of our most basic principles of freedom of speech, which includes protest,” he argued.
The analyst argued that the vote did not reflect the public opinion as the Congress has been “behind the curve on public sentiment” more often than not.
Hoenig said the BDS is in many ways similar to the policies that the international community, including the US itself, pushed against South Africa’s apartheid government and yet Washington doesn’t want it to be implemented once it targets Israeli apartheid.
“Anything related to Israel is viewed suspiciously,” he noted.
He said the US Congress was made up of “frightened, unprincipled individuals” for whom “simple accusations” are enough to infringe people’s right to freedom of expression by passing such resolutions.
Sixteen Democrats, mostly progressives, voted against the resolution. Among them were Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), two Mulsim lawmakers who have been engaged in a heated war of words with Trump over his racist policies.
Citing her family’s Palestinian roots, Tlaib said in her House floor speech that she “can't stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government in the state of Israel.”
“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 added.
Omar and Tlaib have introduced a bill that seeks to protect people’s rights to join the BDS and have pledged to continue the fight even though their chances for success are slim.
The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations and later turned international. It is meant to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law” and end its occupation of Palestinian lands.