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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Senate Adopts Important Pro-Israel Legislation

The Dome of the US Capitol building is visible on the morning of the State of the Union, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

AIPAC applauds the U.S. Senate for adopting the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act (S.1), which contains critical pro-Israel provisions. These provisions—contained in one of the first major bipartisan bills adopted by the Senate this year—pledge security assistance to Israel and clarify that state and local governments have the right to counter boycotts of Israel.

Importantly, this measure includes the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2019, which authorizes agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance as called for in the 2016 U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding. It further encourages expanding U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel and advancing U.S.-Israel cooperation in anti-drone technologies and space.

Another provision, the Combating BDS Act of 2019, clearly establishes that efforts by state and local governments to divest from, or bar contracting with, entities engaged in commercial- or investment-related boycotts of Israel do not conflict with federal law. This legislation mirrors a provision in current federal law that protects states directing divestment from companies invested in Iran’s energy sector. The legislation has no impact on the right of Americans to personally boycott Israel or oppose Israeli policies. The bill’s scope is limited to commercial activities between companies and state and local governments. The legislation also contains the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019, which directs sanctions against human rights violations by the Assad regime in Syria. The House of Representatives has previously adopted this provision as separate legislation. The legislation also reauthorizes the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015.

AIPAC appreciates the leadership of these senators in adopting this legislation—Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), James Risch (R-ID), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Cory Gardner (R-CO). We urge the House of Representatives to adopt all elements of this important legislation.

Type: Press Release