WASHINGTON (Ma’an) — The United States Senate voted down in a cloture vote, on Tuesday, a bill aimed at fighting boycott of Israel spearheaded by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Republican Senators Marco Rubio, James Risch, Cory Gardner, and Mitch McConnell proposed the Senate’s first 2019 bill, S.B.1, “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019.”
The bill shields Israel for its ongoing human rights violations against the Palestinian people and calls to punish those that engage in boycotting Israel for violating international law and human rights.
Rubio’s proposed legislation also included a number of bills regarding US security assistance to Israel and Jordan, as well as a set of new steps against the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad.
The bill was voted down 56-44, short of the 60-vote threshold in the US Senate, with all but four Democrats voting against.
Forty-three Senate Democrats, including many who have previously supported legislation against BDS and in favor of security assistance to Israel, voted against proceeding the debate on the bill.
According to a press statement by the Institute For Middle East Understanding (IMEU), the bill would have also codified into law $38 billion in defense assistance for Israel over 10 years and would protect states and local governments that pass laws punishing individuals and companies who endorse the boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel in support of Palestinian human rights.
Zoha Khalili, staff attorney with Palestine Legal, said “Our elected officials’ desire to shield Israel from scrutiny for its systematic violations of Palestinian rights cannot justify undermining our constitutional rights.”