Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) reintroduced the Combating BDS Act of 2021, legislation to help state and local governments stand up to the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to delegitimize the Jewish state of Israel by inflicting economic damage and starve it of commerce. The bill would increase protections for state and local governments in America that divest from, prohibit investment in, or otherwise restrict contracting with firms that knowingly engage in commerce-related or investment-related BDS activity attacking Israel, as well as persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories.
Rubio and Manchin first introduced the bill in the 115th Congress. At the beginning of the 116th Congress, the legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support in a 77-23 vote through Rubio’s S.1, the Strengthening America’ Security in the Middle East Act, portions of which were ultimately signed into law, but not the Combating BDS Act.
“The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is the single most destructive campaign of economic warfare facing the Jewish state of Israel today,” said Rubio. “Amid a rising tide of anti-Semitism, it’s critical that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our closest democratic ally in the Middle East. This bipartisan bill, which previously passed the Senate, would mark an important step toward bringing an end to the BDS movement’s discriminatory efforts.”“The bipartisan Combating BDS Act is a step towards ensuring individual states have the right to pass laws that prevent business transactions with the anti-Israeli BDS movement,” said Manchin. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join this bipartisan legislation to support individual states and our valued ally, Israel.”