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Today in the House of Representatives, a rare procedural tool called a discharge petition is being filed on legislation that stands up for Israel in the face of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement. The BDS movement works to exclude, undermine, and delegitimize Israel.

Specifically, this discharge petition would allow state and local governments to adopt laws to divest public funds from firms that actively support the BDS movement.

If a majority of the House signs the discharge petition, it would be subject to a vote on the House Floor.

Anti-BDS legislation typically receives overwhelming bipartisan support. In fact, this same legislation already passed the Senate in a bipartisan fashion, 77-23.

House Republicans have signaled that they will stand with Israel and support the discharge petition, so out of the 235 Democrat members of Congress, only 21 need to sign the petition for it to be brought to the House Floor – fewer than the number of Senate Democrats who supported it.

Standing with Israel, and standing against the dangerous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement should be a non-partisan issue.

Will Democrats sign the discharge petition and stand with Israel?

Here is a brief summary of H.R. 336, a four-part legislative package to protect U.S. national interests in the Middle East. It is the House companion to S. 1, which recently passed the Senate by a vote of 77-23 and contains the following four bills:

  • The Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Act of 2019 to authorize security assistance to Israel for 10 years;
  • The U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act to extend Jordan’s eligibility to receive special treatment for transfer of U.S. defense articles and services.
  • The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (passed the House by voice vote in January 2019) to provide the Administration with new tools to sanction those who provide significant financial, material, or technological support to the Assad regime’s war against the Syrian people; and
  • The Combating BDS Act of 2019 to allow state and local governments to adopt laws to divest public funds from entities that boycott Israel.