As the first bill introduced by the 2019 Senate session, S.1 is deals with a number of foreign policy issues, but one of them is a section designed to strengthen state laws that punish companies and individuals who engage in or support boycotts against Israel. 26 states have such laws on their books, and 13 more have bills pending. Two federal courts have already ruled parts of these laws to be unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.
In the midst of a partial government shutdown, Democratic and Republican senators have decided that one of their first orders of business next week should be to sneak through a bill that would weaken Americans’ First Amendment protections. The bill, Combatting BDS Act, encourages states to adopt the very same anti-boycott laws that two federal courts blocked on First Amendment grounds. The legislation, like the unconstitutional state anti-boycott laws it condones, sends a message to Americans that they will be penalized if they dare to disagree with their government. We therefore urge senators to vote no on the Combatting BDS Act next week.