The Senate passed a bill that denounces the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement 77-23 on Tuesday. The bill “allows state and local governments to boycott companies that boycott the country of Israel.”
The bill also contains a resolution that opposes President Donald Trump’s vow to withdraw American soldiers from Syria and Afghanistan.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), also authorizes assistance and weapons transfers to Israel and extended U.S. defense cooperation with Jordan. In addition, it contains a resolution, sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, opposing President Trump’s pledge to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
At least 27 states have adopted laws that are designed to discourage boycotts against Israel, according to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, an organization focused on strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Mr. Rubio’s legislation would allow state and local governments to adopt policies that would prohibit investment in entities that support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel or restrict contracting with them. Critics of the policies say they violate citizens’ freedom of speech, and the policies have prompted legal challenges.
“There is clearly a question of drawing the line on free speech and the right of anybody to advocate the policy that they want,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) last week. “I am not sure the Rubio legislation drew that distinction properly.”
Unfortunately, it may not pass the Democrat-controlled House, especially since many new Democrats have anti-Israel views. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who has spouted anti-Israel thoughts and stood next to anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, already pushed back against the bill.
Tlaib said that “boycotts should be constitutionally protected.” You know what? I agree. But I also agree that the states and local governments and people in general should have an option to boycott those who have views that go against their views.
Go ahead. Support the BDS movement, but don’t get ticked when others decide to boycott you over your views.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only Republican who didn’t vote for the bill. I imagine that’s due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution that opposes Trump’s promise to withdraw American troops from Syria and Afghanistan:
The bill also contains an amendment that opposes President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, warning that a “precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security.”
Military planners had hoped to keep troops in Syria until a local security force strong enough to thwart Islamic State’s attempts to re-emerge could be put in place. The U.S. withdrawal is expected to take between four and six months, defense officials have said.
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