Young Israel Calls on Congress to Move the “Middle East Security Bill”

January 7, 2019

Calls Reports of Anti-BDS Sentiments Among Senate Democrats “A Cause for Great Concern”

The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today called on Congress to immediately take steps to move forward on pro-Israel legislation that was introduced last week. The “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019” includes provisions which ensure that Israel receives the $38 billion in security aid from the United States that was pledged in a 2016 Memorandum of Understanding. The bill also incorporates “The Combatting BDS Act of 2019,” which provides legal safeguards to state and local governments that enact legislation to divest funds from entities that engage in the anti-Israel boycott. In addition, the bill reauthorizes the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015 and addresses establishing new sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime.

Earlier today, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, claimed that Senate Democrats are reluctant to move his bill because they are concerned about “a significant number” of their members being forced to express their support for the BDS movement during a floor vote on the anti-BDS legislation.

The NCYI noted that the international working definition of anti-Semitism, which was adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016 and is utilized by the U.S. State Department, includes various anti-Israel activities, such as those employed by BDS activists in their quest to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Addressing the legislation and the assertion that a large number of Democratic senators endorse the BDS movement, the National Council of Young Israel made the following statement:

“Support for Israel, a close and critical ally of the United States, has always been a top priority in Congress, and moving the ‘Middle East Security Bill’ forward would go a long way to further solidifying the U.S.-Israel relationship and attempting to bring a degree of much-needed stability to the Middle East region.

“The fact that Senator Bernie Sanders publicly opposes the bill because of the anti-BDS component is troubling, and the prospect that Senate Democrats are reluctant to act on this essential legislation because of unease about the possible exposure of their members’ pro-BDS stance is a cause for great concern. The BDS movement, which is a shameless attempt to malign the State of Israel, is the embodiment of barefaced anti-Semitism. It is a grievous and reprehensible attempt to propagandize anti-Israel sentiment, and those who endorse this prejudiced platform are actually sanctioning a movement whose aim is Israel’s destruction. Any Senate Democrat that supports the BDS movement is in fact sanctioning an anti-Semitic effort that undermines the United States’ national security interests through an odious and wanton attack on a U.S. ally.

“While we acknowledge and appreciate the fifteen Democratic senators who co-sponsored the ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act,’ as well as Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin who had the courage and conviction to introduce that vital bill, the reality is that the Senate Democratic leadership has to take a principled stand regarding Senator Rubio’s legislation. When it comes to the ‘Middle East Security Bill’ and its noble effort to combat the BDS movement, the Senate Democratic leadership cannot be allowed to hide behind procedural machinations in order to shield some of their members from having to face the public outcry that would ensue if and when their endorsement of the anti-Semitic effort comes to light.”

The National Council of Young Israel also addressed recent comments by freshman Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a BDS-supporter who suggested that advocates of the legislation “forgot what country they represent” while endorsing Senator Sanders’ opposition to the bill:

“By invoking a timeworn anti-Semitic accusation of dual loyalty, Rep. Tlaib is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism and using her newly acquired bully pulpit to disseminate hate. With her avowed support of BDS and her affirmed opposition to U.S. military aid to Israel, Rep. Tlaib’s opposition to this legislation underscores exactly why passage of this bill is so critical, and why codifying U.S. financial assistance to Israel is absolutely essential.”