Rep. John Lewis Affirms Support for H. Res 246
I did not author, but agreed to sign on as a cosponsor of H. Res. 496, a resolution “affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.” My support of this resolution was a simple demonstration of my ongoing commitment to the ability of every American to exercise the fundamental First Amendment right to protest through nonviolent actions.
As a young boy growing up in rural Alabama, the trajectory of my life changed when I heard the news of the Montgomery Bus Boycott on the radio. My support of these ideals simply affirms the constitutionally protected right to protest, enshrined by the First Amendment. It is not and was never meant to characterize opposition to boycotts as inherently unconstitutional.
However, as a longtime friend of Israel and also as a cosponsor of H. Res. 246, the resolution “opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel,” I want to make it very clear that I disagree strongly with the BDS movement. Economic, educational, and cultural interaction with Israel, America’s democratic ally, is not only in the best interest of Israelis and Americans, but it improves the climate for peace with Palestinians, which is in everyone’s interest to encourage. For these reasons, I was proud to be one of 398 members of the House of Representatives – an overwhelming bipartisan majority – who voted to pass H. Res. 246 on July 23, 2019.