With two weeks left until Democratic primary voters head to the polls to vote in the 2021 special congressional election in District 20, Progressive State Rep. Omari Hardy (D) has raised eyebrows again, this time it’s over his support for the anti-Israel, BDS movement and his opposition for the funding of the Iron Dome missile defense system being implemented by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
This past week when asked about whether he supported the BDS movement, Hardy stated that his “position on BDS was inconsistent with my other values. I had to change my mind … I can admit I was wrong when I said I opposed BDS.”
Rep. Hardy is towing the anti-Israel hardline that other Democratic Socialist members of the House of Representatives, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have taken against Israel.
“When a government violates the rights of a people, we have reason to speak up and speak out and to use nonviolent tactics to encourage that government to change its behavior. My position on these issues is not about Israel. It’s about the broader principles as they apply to this case,” said Hardy before make a subtle jab against Israel with his reference to Apartheid.
“The Squad” in the House has often referenced Israel as being an Apartheid state.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D) recently rejected Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s assertion on the House floor that Israel was an “Apartheid State.”
Here is what Hardy said:
“The first question is, are the Palestinians’ human rights being violated, yes or no? The answer is clearly yes. If we know that the Palestinians’ human rights are being violated, then what should we do about that? Violence is not the answer, but not violent protest and boycott and so on is the answer. It was the answer in Montgomery, Ala., when Martin Luther King and other faith leaders in the Black community put together a boycott of the Montgomery bus system. It was the answer in South Africa when leaders there encouraged the world to boycott South Africa until apartheid ended, and I think it is the answer any place, anywhere peoples’ human rights are being violated, including in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,” Hardy said.
But while Hardy is playing up his ultra-progressive/Socialist agenda, his efforts could be working against him in the grand scheme of things.
Florida’s 20th congressional district has large Black and Caribbean communities, and for the most part, neither of the two communities support Democratic Socialism.
In speaking to The Floridian on Friday, Democratic congressional candidate and Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who is of Jamaican descent, disagreed with his opponent Hardy, saying that “BDS hasn’t worked” and that be believed that he doesn’t “know if that is a solution to the issue” when addressing the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Commissioner Holness also asserted that the Iron Dome Hardy opposes “benefits both sides” of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Holness brought up that while “Arab countries, Muslim countries” were working to build a relationship with Israel, the terror group Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Authority, was “flying rockets” at Israel.
While Holness would like to find a way to get Hamas to come to the table to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing problem, he doesn’t know if it will happen and wishes Hamas would “recognize the suffering other people under their control” are enduring.
Holness, who is considered the favorite to win the primary race, also points out that because the congressional district is arguably the poorest in the country, voters are looking for someone that will “pull us all together” and “forge a pathway to prosperity.”
You can’t be throwing firebombs and expect to pull people together,” said Holness is an apparent subtle slight against Hardy’s in-your-face and “unapologetic” candidacy.