Even though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) warned that the anti-boycott legislation is a direct attack on the First Amendment, 25 Democrats sided with Republicans to advance Senate Bill 1 to take away free speech rights for Palestinian freedom.
The 74-19 vote will push the S.1 package sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to a final Senate vote as early as today. The bill, which “includes $38 billion in military assistance to Israel,” would also “give state and local governments more power to punish companies and individuals who boycott or divest from Israel,” Common Dreams reported.
Nineteen senators, who are against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said it “would violate Americans’ First Amendment right.”
“While I do not support the BDS movement, we must defend every American’s constitutional right to engage in political activity,” Sanders said. “It is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.”
Democratic senators, including Sanders who is an Independent, voted against S.1:
Van Hollen (D-Md.)
Democratic senators that voted in favor of S.1:
Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)
“It’s vile that a law aimed at suppressing our democratic rights and silencing those fighting for solidarity with Palestinians would even make it to the Senate floor,” IfNotNow, an American Jewish advocacy group, said. “Shame on our community’s establishment for pushing this bill forward.”