New Congress Reintroduces Anti-BDS Legislation Amid Government Shutdown
(WASHINGTON, D.C. 1/7/2019)—In the midst of America’s partial government shutdown, Marco Rubio introduced in the Senate the first bill of the 116th Congress, the ill-defined "Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019"(S.1). This bill restates and reaffirms the United States’s commitment to providing $3.3 billion dollars per year in military funding to Israel and additional funding to finance the missile defense system of Israel. The bill, which was heavily pushed for by AIPAC, also manages to sneak in anti-BDS measures by encouraging state and local governments to sanction American entities that participate in the First Amendment right to boycott.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has questioned why senators of both major parties have decided that one of their first orders to business would be “to sneak through a bill that would weaken Americans’ First Amendment protections” by encouraging “states to adopt the very same anti-boycott laws that two federal courts blocked on First Amendment grounds.” ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Kathleen Ruane added, "The legislation, like the unconstitutional state anti-boycott laws it condones, sends a message to Americans that they will be penalized if they dare to disagree with their government. We therefore urge senators to vote no on the Combatting BDS Act."
Americans must now ask: why is our government #Closed4Americans, but #Open4Israel? The U.S. government must put #OurRightsFirst, and focus on funding the salaries and daily safety of Americans affected by the government shutdown before pledging their blind allegiance to Israel.
As hundreds of thousands of American workers suffer the consequences of the open-ended #TrumpShutdown, Congress is instead focused on pandering to the Israel Lobby. Please call your senator today to voice your opposition to S.1 before it moves to a vote. We must stop this from happening, and we can do this with your help.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Please call your two senators immediately. Be sure when you contact them that you mention your opposition to S.1 and that you are a constituent of their state.
1) The ACLU has said that all measures criminalizing BDS violate the First Amendment by penalizing Americans for political speech.
2) As Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted, it's absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation that would punish Americans exercising their constitutional rights instead of considering bills that would reopen the government.
3) Do not silence one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or sacrifice our constitutional rights for the interests of a foreign government.