New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand withdrew her co-sponsorship from the Israel Anti-Boycott Act this week.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act has the support of 43 senators supporting it and is sponsored by Maryland Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin. It adjusts the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include prohibitions on boycotts against U.S. allies, like Israel.
U.S. entities would not be able to participate in the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel if the bill passed.
The American Civil Liberties Union now argues that the policy is unconstitutional because it violates First Amendment free speech rights and the organization is lobbying against it.
When asked why she withdrew from the bill at a recent town hall last Thursday, Gillibrand replied, according to The Observer, that she “would never support any bill that chills free speech.” She added that after meeting with the ACLU, she felt the bill “chills free speech,” and will “urge the authors of the bill to change the bill and will not support it in its current form.”
At the same meeting Gillibrand slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he did not “have a vision for peace” when she met with him last year with other senators.
“He just said my only hope is that I protect my people from rockets. If you don’t have a vision, if you don’t have a plan, then it is never going to happen. And so we do need to require more of our world leaders, and I think a call to action to Israel’s government to have a plan for peace is really incumbent on all of us,” she said..