In the latest development of the ongoing national debate over the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement, one of the top Democrats in the House has condemned two of the most prominent progressive figures in his caucus.
Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York), Chair of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted his condemnation of the rhetoric of both President Donald Trump and Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), saying that “the anti-Semitism in our political discourse is repugnant.” After calling Trump’s comments about Jewish loyalty to Democrats “a vicious and dangerous anti-Semitic trope,” he then said that “the cartoon forward by [Tlaib] and [Omar] can surely be read for its vile underlying message.”
The cartoon in question, shared by both congresswomen on Instagram, depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump simultaneously covering the mouths of Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar, with the Star of David in the middle of the image. The cartoon was drawn by Carlos Latuff, who participated in Iran’s annual “Holocaust Cartoon Contest” in 2006, coming in second place.
This is the latest increase in tensions with the Democratic Party over the subject of Israel and anti-Semitism. Tlaib and Omar have repeatedly criticized Israel and voiced their support for the BDS movement, which led to Prime Minister Netanyahu announcing that they would be barred from visiting Israel on a planned official visit.
Omar had previously made anti-Semitic comments that also drew condemnation from within the Democratic Party, including her claim that the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had undue influence in American politics, which was criticized by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
The two Muslim congresswomen’s stance on Israel has also drawn criticism from other left-wing figures. Most recently, late night host Bill Maher criticized the BDS movement as “a bullsh** purity test.” Congresswoman Tlaib subsequently called for a boycott of Maher’s show, to which Maher responded by pointing out that House Democrats had overwhelmingly voted against a pro-BDS bill earlier in the year, with 318 against and only 17 in favor.