’Combating BDS Act’ passes Senate, 77-23, as Dem presidential hopefuls vote No, and Paul slams ’paranoia’ of ’the lobby’
US Politics Philip Weiss on February 5, 2019
This afternoon the Senate by a vote of 77-23 passed S.1, which contains the Combating BDS Act, encouraging states to pass laws that authorize economic punishments against those who support boycott of Israel. Faiz Shakir, national political director of the ACLU, says:
The Senate just passed a bill that tramples on the 1st Amendment rights of Americans. The House should refuse to take it up.
The ACLU led opposition to the bill and is already moving on to the House. It reports:
Should the House take up similar legislation, we urge members to remove the Combating BDS Act from the package of bills due to the threat it poses to all Americans’ First Amendment right to boycott…
Senators who voted for the bill: we encourage you to read the Constitution, which protects against the McCarthy-era tactics this bill endorses.
I am told there is real hope that the Democratic House will reject the measure.
The 23 Senators who voted against include all likely or announced presidential candidates with the exception of Amy Klobuchar — who reportedly said she opposed the BDS provision but approved other parts of the bill. All the Nays were Democrats except for one Republican, Rand Paul, who warned that the majority is “paranoid” about the Israel lobby. The roll of honor:
Tammy Baldwin, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Tom Carper, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Martin Heinrich, Mazie Hirono, Tim Kaine, Patrick Leahy, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Rand Paul, Jack Reed, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Udall, Chris Van Hollen, Elizabeth Warren
The bill is a landmark in anti-Palestinianism. The IMEU relates: “‘It’s disappointing that the Senate has voted to undermine the free speech rights of advocates for Palestinian freedom.’ – Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace.”
J Herbert Nelson II of the Presbyterian Church’s Israel Palestine Mission Network called the bill “unjust” for limiting what more and more people wish to do for Palestinian rights:
A growing number of churches and other faith groups, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), have endorsed time-honored tools like boycotts to avoid profiting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights. In passing the CBA, the Senate is condoning attempts by politicians at the state level to suppress our efforts to be true to our faith and avoid being complicit in the suffering of others.
There was an upside to the vote. “Ugly day for the Senate, but something important happened here: All serious 2020 candidates (Harris, Sanders, Warren, Gillibrand and Booker) bucked AIPAC and voted against this anti-BDS bill,” Ryan Grim tweets. “That tells you a LOT about the politics of Israel in the Democratic Party.”
The Jewish establishment was all for this bill. AIPAC urged its passage. So did Jewish Federations, the leading Jewish philanthropic organizations: