Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Wednesday announced their opposition to a bill intended to protect Israel from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The two wrote a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer detailing their opposition to the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act”, according to The Daily Caller.
“We ask that you not include the ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act,’ (S. 720) in any year-end funding bill,” the two wrote.
“While we do not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” they continued, “we remain resolved to our constitutional oath to defend the rights of every American to express their views peacefully without fear of or actual punishment by the government.”
The bipartisan “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” which is being sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), would punish individuals and organizations that participate in the economic harassment of Israel, according to The Daily Caller.
While Sanders is Jewish and spent time in a kibbutz when he was young, he has a history of problematic statements on Israel.
Last April, Sanders criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his policies, saying, "As someone who believes absolutely and unequivocally in Israel's right to exist... we must say loudly and clearly, that to oppose the reactionary policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu does not make us anti-Israel."
In June of 2017, Sanders recorded a video message to the Israeli leftist party Meretz, in which he said, “This occupation must end. Peace, real peace, means security not only for every Israeli, but for every Palestinian. It means supporting self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for both peoples.”
The fight against BDS has picked up steam in the US in recent years, with 26 states having passed local legislation against the movement.