Feinstein, Sanders aim to shoot down Israel Anti-Boycott Act

A minority of Democratic representatives are pushing for the Israel Anti-Boycott Act not to become law. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News 

A minority of Democratic left-wing representatives are stalling the passage of a bill that fights anti-Israel boycotts. Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont spoke out against the Act, with the backing of anti-Israel organizations.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (H.R. 1697), introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R, IL) and Juan Vargas (D, CA) in the House and by Senators Rob Portman (R, OH) and Ben Cardin (D, MD), would expand existing U.S. anti-boycott laws to organizations such as the U.N. and the European Union (EU).

H.R. 1697 amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include prohibitions on boycotts against allies of the United States that are fostered by international governmental organizations. It also directs the U.S. Export-Import Bank to oppose boycotts against Israel.

“The BDS movement is nothing more and nothing less than the latest attempt by Israel’s enemies to destroy the Jewish State,” stated Roskam. “After their repeated military conquests ended in failure, they have now turned to economic means in the hopes of achieving the same outcome. Thankfully, the United States Congress – and the American people – will not stand for it. We will oppose all forms of economic warfare against Israel and Israelis.”

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The bill’s detractors claim it is an infringement on the right of expression.

Feinstein and Sanders sent a letter on Wednesday to the Senate urging the exclusion of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act from the year-end appropriations bill. They wrote the while they do not support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, they “remain resolved to our constitutional oath to defend the right of every American to express their views peacefully without fear of or actual punishment by the government.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that The Jewish Democratic Council of America endorsed the bill as “consistent” with the 2016 Democratic Party platform.

“The bill will extend existing U.S. legal protections which protect companies from coercion by foreign countries to participate in boycotts of Israel to include protection from boycotts led by international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations. We support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, as amended, and urge passage of this legislation during the 115th Congress. We are encouraging JDCA members to write to their member of Congress to support passage of the bill by the end of the year,” the JCDA stated.

The bill, to date, has 292 backers in the House.