Senate Passes Bill Allowing States to Punish Businesses That Boycott Israel

Bill includes amendment condemning pullouts from Syria, Afghanistan

In a 77-23 vote on Tuesday, the Senate passed the anti-BDS bill, which combines several bills that are generally being presented within the body as “pro-Israel.” This includes US military aid to Israel, sanctions on Syria, allowing states to punish those that boycott Israel, and cooperating with Jordan.

This is also the bill to which yesterday’s McConnell Amendment is attached. The amendment condemns plans to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan, though it is non-binding in doing so.

The focus, however, was intended to be the BDS movement. Israel’s far-right government is aggressively hostile toward any hint of BDS support, and has lobbied heavy for the “Combating BDS Act,” which seeks to punish any pro-BDS organizations.

The bill’s author, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), argues that the First Amendment does not apply to boycotting Israel, saying it is “discriminatory economic warfare” against Israel, and contrary to US policy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.