Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) is facing criticism from a Democratic mayor in her district over her vote against a House resolution opposing the movement to boycott Israel.
“Well-meaning people can disagree about the Netanyahu government’s policies towards the Palestinians without singling out the only democracy in the Middle East for boycott and sanctions,” said Monroe Mayor Gerald Tamburro, whose town has a substantial Jewish population. “International efforts to isolate Israel are a continuing pattern of anti-Israeli bias that we often see at the United Nations and from nations whose own human rights records are deplorable.”
Tamburro is the first Democratic elected official to publicly scold Watson Coleman for being the only member of the New Jersey delegation to vote against a resolution that passed the House 398-17. Monroe is in New Jersey’s 12th district.
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement seeks to employ economic pressure meant to force Israel to remove the wall along the country’s border with the West Bank and withdraw from occupied territories, among other things.
“Unlike most other nations, Israel’s very existence has been under threat ever since its founding 71 years ago,” Tamburro said. “Many of those behind this movement are those that failed to destroy Israel militarily and now want to destroy it economically. In that context, the international BDS movement must be opposed by all those who support Israel’s right to exist, even if they don’t necessarily agree with the policies of its current government.”
Former Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin, a former executive director of the New Jersey Israel Commission, was sharply critical of Watson Coleman’s vote and questioned the motive behind her action.
“The BDS movement is a euphemism for destroying the State of Israel,” Yudin told the New Jersey Globe. “By voting the way she did, without coming out and saying, ‘I want Israel destroyed,’ that’s what she did.”
Yudin criticized Watson Coleman for her ties to a group of Democrats, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), who have scoped out an anti-Israel agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The Democratic Party has a problem with the perception that they have moved away from support of Israel,” said Yudin, a moderate Republican who endorsed U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) for re-election in 2018.