Statement on Passage of War Powers Resolution on Yemen and Republican Attempts to Politicize Support for Israel
I strongly supported the resolution the House passed today to end America’s direct involvement in Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. The United States should not be complicit in Saudi actions that have claimed thousands of civilian lives, created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and empowered Iran, in direct defiance of the advice of our military. The House and Senate have now sent a clear message to Saudi Arabia that U.S. support cannot be taken for granted, and that the time has come to agree to a diplomatic resolution of this war.
I also cast an emphatic “no” vote today against a cynical attempt by House Republicans to derail the Yemen resolution by adding language condemning the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions,” or BDS, movement. I was joined in this vote by many of the staunchest supporters of Israel in the Congress.
I am categorically opposed to BDS, because it seeks to delegitimize the state of Israel, opposes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and encourages anti-Semitism. I am a co-sponsor of House Resolution 246, which unequivocally condemns BDS, and have been leading Congressional efforts to combat anti-Semitic violence and hate speech in the United States and around the world.
But the Motion to Recommit that Republicans put forward today was not intended to unite the Congress against BDS or in support of Israel. It was intended to kill a resolution aiming to stop a war and famine in Yemen that threatens millions of lives. The addition of any extraneous language to this war powers resolution would have required us to send it back once again to the Senate, and precluded its passage there under privileged rules. And make no mistake: if the motion had passed, most House Republicans would still have voted against the Yemen bill, including the anti-BDS language, as they did the last time we accepted an amendment opposing anti-Semitism to this same resolution. They are far more interested in continuing US support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen than they are in combating BDS.
I am also deeply disturbed by the Republican party’s repeated efforts to turn support for Israel in our country into a partisan issue. If these irresponsible attacks continue, Americans will become increasingly divided on something that Democrats and Republicans have long agreed on. I strongly believe that a vote for today’s Republican motion would have been a vote against, not for, Israel. It would have encouraged a Republican strategy that could do more to divide Americans and to harm our relationship with Israel than the BDS movement itself. It is time for all of us to hold the authors of this cynical strategy accountable for the damage they are doing.