US Democrats block controversial pro-Israeli Senate bill

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. A senior Senate Democratic aide said Dec. 7 that he would oppose con

French demonstrators and supporters of Palestinians hold a placard with the word "Boycott" during a demonstration in Paris, France on October 31, 2012. Republicans now hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and would need Democratic votes to advance the measure over the 60-vote threshold.

And a Van Hollen spokesman pointed to his tweet and that of Cardin in responding to Rubio. This time, instead of throwing profanity at President Donald Trump, she's blasting her colleagues for opposing boycotts, sanctions, and divestments against Israel.

The anti-BDS legislation has been fiercely criticised by civil rights organisations such as the American Civil Liberties Union as well as by progressives and liberals across the country. Hoyer said he believes even more Republicans could join them later this week when Democrats begin holding votes on individual spending bills that were written a year ago by GOP committees. One of those bills would provide ample margin for state and local governments to curtail their business with those who actively support boycotts of Israel.

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Pro-BDS Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) attacked Rubio's legislation and any senators supporting it for having "forgot what country they represent".

Democrats say the bill would hamper constitutionally protected rights, such as free speech, but as Klein explained, "existing laws prevent governments from contracting with businesses that engage in discriminatory practices, and the movement to boycott Israeli Jews certainly is discriminatory".

"Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away" the freshman congresswoman remarked. The Anti-Defamation League notes that BDS is a campaign to delegitimize Israel as the Jewish state and that the movement's founding goals "including denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination - along with numerous strategies employed in BDS campaigns are anti-Semitic". A Woodstock-style concert was canceled and some companies including Airbnb stopped offering services in the West Bank settlements.

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Punishment aimed at companies that choose to boycott Israel can also sweep up individual American citizens in its punitive net because individual contractors often work for state or local governments under the auspices of a sole proprietorship or some other business entity. "In leading the charge against the anti-Semitic BDS movement, which demonizes and singles out the world's only Jewish state, it is making a strong statement about the movement's lies and hatred". It doesn't matter how minor the issue-any perceived slight to Israel meets with opposition from groups who never seem to lack in outside financial support.

Legislation reaffirming U.S. support for allies in the Middle East, including a measure to punish Americans who boycott Israel, fell victim on Tuesday to a domestic political dispute that has resulted in a partial federal government shutdown. Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don't reopen the government. "Let's get our priorities right", the senator continued. "We don't have a better economic trading partner than Israel".

The move was a small example of a victory under the emerging Senate Democratic strategy, which aims to put added pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring up House-passed appropriations bills that would reopen the government.

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