BDS activists
BDS activists iStock

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution opposing boycotts of Israel.

398 lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution, 17 voted against and five abstained.

House Resolution 246, sponsored by Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-IL) opposes the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, "including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel."

It also affirms that the BDS movement “undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure.”

The resolution “urges Israelis and Palestinians to return to direct negotiations as the only way to achieve an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The resolution was adopted last week by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Arthur Stark, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on Tuesday welcomed its approval.

“We are heartened by the overwhelming support of the US House of Representatives for H. Res. 246, which opposes efforts to delegitimize and defame the State of Israel by the nefarious practices of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign in the US and abroad. This important bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), and co-sponsored by nearly 80% of Congress, is aimed at combating boycotts and other discriminatory efforts against Israel, and opposes efforts to denigrate the State of Israel and its supporters. It also reiterates congressional support for direct negotiations between the parties to the Middle East conflict and efforts to enhance US-Israel scientific and technological cooperation,” they said in a statement.

“At its core, the BDS movement does not aim to effect political change, but to undermine and deny Israel’s right to exist. Its leaders have called for the end of the Jewish State in any borders, and its demands, if accepted, would ultimately end the State of Israel. The pernicious campaign also diminishes the possibility of a lasting peace negotiated directly between the parties, placing the entire onus on Israel, while exempting Palestinian leadership from making any tough choices, including internal reform, ending corruption, stopping support of terrorism, etc.,” continued Stark and Hoenlein.

“Congress has taken a strong stand in support of Israel’s right to exist in safety and the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The BDS and alleged efforts, often tied directly and indirectly to terrorist entities, has targeted Jewish and non-Jewish student supporters of Israel, often with violence and physical harassment. Congress’ strong message today will encourage them and support all who are advancing true peace in the region and understanding at home,” they said.

AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, welcomed the approval of the resolution as well.

“92% of the House voted for H.Res.246 to condemn the BDS campaign as anti-Israel, anti-peace and damaging to U.S. interests. This overwhelming vote is representative of the broad, bipartisan support in Congress for Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship,” it tweeted.

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