The United States’ approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has dramatically transformed since Trump took office, but a lot of those changes — from legislation to defund the Palestinian Authority to an attempt to criminalize boycotting Israel — actually came from Congress.
It’s BDS and the idea of boycotting Israel to pressure into changing its policies, however, that has turned into a major wedge issues in American politics. Republicans are pushing radical legislation that would criminalize boycotting Israel, a move opposed by the ACLU and others as unconstitutional, and Democrats are falling into their trap.
"There's got to be a point when you say, whether or not I adopt this tactic, this is a legitimate nonviolent tactic that we will defend," says Lara Friedman, an expert on everything Israel-Palestine on the Hill, and president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
Democrats need to decide not to throw those in their party who do support boycotts under the bus "in order to make the right, which will never ever be satisfied with our position, feel better about us. We're never going to be in that tent — we don't want to be in that tent," she says.
Follow Lara Friedman on Twitter: @LaraFriedmanDC
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