The Senate passed a bill 77-23 Tuesday that rebukes the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, even without support from most Democrats who are contemplating a 2020 presidential run. The bill specifically allows state and local governments to boycott companies that boycott the country of Israel.
The official BDS movement website describes the movement as one trying to uphold “the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”
The bill consolidated four different bills into one. It provides Israel with $3.3 billion from the United States in defense spending, reauthorizes cooperation with Jordan and reimposes sanctions on Syria, in addition to the part about BDS.
This part of the bill was introduced by Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Rubio ardently defended the bill from critics, including Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Some have suggested that the bill could violate the First Amendment.
Likely 2020 candidates, including Sens. Sanders, Brown, Warren, Gillibrand, Booker and Harris, all voted against it. Democratic Minnesota Sen. Klobuchar voted in favor of the bill. (RELATED: America’s First Two Muslim Congresswoman Officially Endorse Anti-Israel Legislation)
Many Jewish organizations view the BDS movement as antisemitic because it singles out Israel for alleged human rights violations. The Anti-Defamation League says that the movement “rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state” and “is the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.” (RELATED: Zeldin Addresses Feud With Omar OVER Her Support For BDS Movement)
An American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) spokesperson previously told The Daily Caller:
We strongly support this legislation because it ensures Israel has the means necessary to defend itself—by itself—against growing threats and helps protect the right of states to counter boycotts against Israel. Any contention that the bill infringes upon First Amendment rights is simply wrong. The legislation has no impact on the right of Americans to personally boycott Israel or oppose Israeli policies.