Three out of four "Squad" members voted against the Congressional resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel. Noticeably missing was Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who voted alongside the majority of legislators and against her crew. The bill passed 398-17 with five members voting present.
Pressley released her official statement online:
As I have noted many times before, I arrive at my decisions in close partnership with community. Today I cast a yes vote on H.Res 246 as an expression of solidarity with Jewish families and with marginalized communities that continue to face heightened threats to their safety in this volatile moment driven by hateful rhetoric from the Trump Administration. Today’s vote gave us a very narrow and rushed opportunity to engage on an issue that warrants much further meaningful dialogue with the voices of all impacted at the table to say the very least. As a dedicated advocate for survivors of violence and trauma, I will continue to support a two-state solution. I am also proud to be a co-sponsor of H.Res 496 Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. John Lewis’s resolution that opposes any and all unconstitutional efforts to undermine and limit the rights of individuals to peacefully protest and engage in boycotts. I was raised in the tradition of protest and organizing and I support our ability to raise our voices through peaceful protest and action is a sacred right that has played a pivotal role in this nation’s history. We can call out and question the tactics of a movement but we should never question or marginalize the lived experiences and voices of those who call out for civil rights and liberties, including the Palestinian people.
But she took to Twitter to further explain her position:
I appreciate the question. My official statement's online but twitter gives me a chance to break down where I landed. https://t.co/JN22vuUTC0— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
I grew up on my mother's hip at organizing meetings. I would not be here today without the concerted protests and sacrifice of generations who fought for civil rights and liberation. I'm a proud co-sponsor of Rep Omar & Rep Lewis's HRes 496 because of that fundamental belief.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
There are a lot of anti-BDS bills out there that infringe on 1st amendment rights at the state and federal level. In my view, HRes 246 wasn't one of them.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
What I heard resounding in community was that voting yes on this resolution affirmed to my constituents raised in the Jewish faith Israel's right to exist, a view I share as a supporter of a two state solution.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
Like Congressman John Lewis, I believe that I can hold these strong views without opposition. Protest is sacred and activism is critical.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
If S.1 were to come to the House floor, I would vote NO. We can call out and question the tactics of a movement but we should never question or marginalize the lived experiences and voices of those who call out for civil rights & liberties, including the Palestinian people.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
This resolution does not mitigate the pain and trauma of the Palestinian people and as with my co-sponsorship of the McCollum bill I will cont to be a strident voice critiquing conservative Israeli policies. Dissent is patriotic here and w our allies— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
We each take these votes alone but aim to represent the districts we serve. My position is similar to that of Rep Khanna, Sen Warren and Sen Sanders. But I speak only for myself when I share my deliberative process here. This was not an easy vote.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
In my early months in Congress it has been clear rushing votes to the floor entrenches the status quo and hamstrings our ability to talk about nuanced issues. I made clear with leadership this bill never should have been fast tracked. It was in my view reckless for many reasons.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
I remain your steadfast partner in the MA 7th even when we may share different views on a vote or an issue. Let this moment be a catalyst for continued honest dialogue on issues of consequence for all of us.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 24, 2019
The bill Pressley said she co-sponsored, HR 496, affirms "that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution."
SB 1, the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and strengthen's Israel's position in the Middle East by assisting the country with weapons and places sanctions on Syria.
Pressley, in so many words, said she's caught between a rock and hard place. On one hand, she believes in protesting and withholding funds from Israel. She agrees with her "Squad" on the issue. On the other hand, she doesn't want to alienate her Jewish voters and wants them to feel as though she stands in solidarity with them.
So, where do your loyalties lie, Pressley?