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Bernie Sanders slams ‘absurd’ introduction of anti-BDS bill in Congress

Published: January 7, 2019
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United States Senator Bernie Sanders has slammed the “absurd” introduction of a bill targeting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as the US government shutdown continues.

Yesterday, Sanders tweeted out an article in the Intercept about the bill, commenting:

“It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity. Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don’t reopen the government. Let’s get our priorities right.”

According to the report, Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and James Risch, R-Idaho, “last week introduced the first bill to be considered in the Republican-led Senate, consolidating four bills that languished in the last Congress.”

One of those four is legislation that “protects states that pass laws targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, including states that ban contracts with Israel boycotters.”

Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, may run again in 2020.

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WHEN EACH NEW CONGRESS is gaveled into session, the chambers attach symbolic importance to the first piece of legislation to be considered. For that reason, it bears the lofty designation of H.R.1 in the House, and S.1 in the Senate... S.1 – is not designed to protect American workers, bolster U.S. companies, or address the various debates over border security and immigration. It’s not a bill to open the government. Instead, according to multiple sources involved in the legislative process, S.1 will be a compendium containing a handful of foreign-policy related measures, a main one of which is a provision, with Florida’s GOP Sen. Marco Rubio as a lead sponsor, to defend the Israeli government. The bill is a top legislative priority for AIPAC.

A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told she can no longer work with the public school district after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation

A leaked Al Jazeera documentary detailing the tactics of the Israeli lobby in the United States and elsewhere has revealed that pro-Israel groups regularly invented smears, including false accusations of sexual assault, to discredit professors and students on U.S. university campuses that support equal rights for Palestinians and the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is a non-violent movement that seeks to use economic pressure on Israel’s government so that it complies with international law, ends the military occupation of the West Bank, and halts the decades-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.

State funding for Israeli companies, politicized textbooks and fighting BDS The Virginia-Israel Advisory Board VIAB has one key difference with scores of privately funded state chambers of commerce created to foster closer economic integration between the United States and Israel while supporting the Israeli government’s policy agenda.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan upped his government’s efforts to link the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign with “terrorism”, in a presentation to pro-Israel activists on Tuesday night, reported The Jerusalem Post. Erdan unveiled what he described in a post on Twitter as a “map of the Delegitimization Network – aka, the Hate Net”, which the minister claimed “mapped out the 42 leading #BDS orgs, their hub in Ramallah & the connections between them”.

The state of South Carolina will become the first state in the nation to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism that considers certain criticisms of the Israeli government to be hate speech. The language, which was inserted into the state’s recently passed $8 billion budget, offers a much more vague definition of anti-Semitism that some suggest specifically targets the presence of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement on state college campuses. The law requires that all state institutions, including state universities, apply the revised definition when deciding whether an act violates anti-discrimination policies.

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