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February 6, 2019 3:57 pm

Pro-Israel Groups Welcome US Senate’s Passage of Middle East Security Act

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Senate’s passage on Tuesday of the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act was welcomed by a number of pro-Israel groups.

The legislation — approved by a 77-23 margin — includes “critical pro-Israel provisions” that “pledge security assistance to Israel and clarify that state and local governments have the right to counter boycotts of Israel,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) noted in a statement.

“Importantly, this measure includes the United States-Israel Security Authorization Assistance Act of 2019, which authorizes agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance as called for in the 2016 US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding,” AIPAC said. “It further encourages expanding US weapons stockpiles in Israel and advancing US-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,” AIPAC added. “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.”

AIPAC urged the House of Representatives — which will consider the legislation next — to “adopt all elements” of the bill.

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) tweeted, “This important legislation helps our Middle East allies, Israel and Jordan, sanctions Syria for its crimes against its own people, and combats the anti-Semitic #BDS movement. #GOPMajority!”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) tweeted, “We welcome the Senate’s passage of S.1, which included a strong and bipartisan rebuke of @realDonaldTrump’s disastrous Syria policy. We also reject the relentless @GOP effort to politicize U.S. policy toward Israel.”

The Israeli-American Coalition for Action stated, “This is an important day in the fight against the hate movement commonly referred to as BDS. S.1 will strengthen the US-Israel relationship and ensure that the bigotry and discrimination fostered by the BDS is not subsidized by taxpayer dollars.”

“We are thrilled that a majority of senators from both sides of the aisle have now voted to explicitly authorize state and local governments to adopt and enforce measures that prevent financial engagement with entities engaged in BDS-related commercial discrimination,” it went on to say.

Josh Block — the CEO and president of The Israel Project (TIP) — said, “We applaud the strong bipartisan support this bill received and believe this underscores the deep relationship shared between the US and Israel.”

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