May 24, 2019

BREAKING: Senate Passes Anti-BDS Bill

The Senate passed a bill on Feb. 5 that cracks down on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as well as Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

The final margin on the S.1 bill, titled “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019,” was 77-23:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) tweeted:

According to Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), those voted no included Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, said in a statement sent to the Journal, “We applaud the Senators on both sides of the aisle for their overwhelming support and urge members of the House of Representatives to follow in this sensible path to increased security for both the U.S. and our allies.”

The Israeli-American Coalition for Action said in a statement, “This is an important day in the fight against the hate movement commonly referred to as BDS. S.1 will strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and ensure that the bigotry and discrimination fostered by the BDS is not subsidized by taxpayer dollars.”

Earlier in the day, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the co-sponsors of the bill, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that his bill protects the rights of states to divest from companies that boycott Israel.

“While the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to free speech, it does not protect the right of entities to engage in discriminatory conduct,” Rubio wrote. “Moreover, state governments have the right to set contracting and investment policies, including policies that exclude companies engaged in discriminatory commercial- or investment-related conduct targeting Israel.”

The bill also provides military aid to Israel and Jordan.

This article has been updated.