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Senate Passes Bill That Warns Against Syria Withdrawal, Includes Israel Anti-Boycott Provision

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-02-07 03:40:26
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Senate approves Syria, anti-BDS bill [thehill.com]

The Senate passed legislation on Thursday breaking with President Trump's Syria policy. Senators voted 77-23 to send the legislation to the House that includes a provision warning Trump against a "precipitous" withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. It also asks the administration to certify that certain conditions have been met "for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS before initiating any significant withdrawal of United States forces from Syria or Afghanistan."

[...] In addition to the Syria amendment, the bill also included sanctions against the Syrian government, increased support for Israel and Jordan and a provision that would let states penalize businesses that take part in boycotts or divestments of Israel.

Both the Syria amendment and the anti-BDS provisions sparked division among Democrats. [...] Democrats had raised First Amendment concerns about the anti-BDS provision, which splintered most of the party's 2020 contenders and caucus leadership. "While I do not support the BDS movement, we must defend every American's constitutional right to engage in political activity. It is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans' First Amendment rights," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement last week.

Also at NYT [nytimes.com].

See also: Is the Anti-BDS Bill Constitutional? Yes, But... [bloomberg.com]


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