Anti-BDS legislation passed as part of trade agreement legislation.
After weeks of procedural wrangling, fast-track trade promotion authority, which includes language combatting boycott, divestment and sanctions actions against Israel, passed the Senate on Wednesday in a 60-38 vote.
The anti-BDS amendment makes the elimination of state-sponsored boycotts against Israel a negotiating priority with European trading partners.
The World Jewish Congress hailed the passage.
“The Senate today took a strong stand against the growing vilification of Israel. American values such as freedom and openness have triumphed over the blatant hypocrisy and bias of the anti-Israel campaigners. This vote marks a major defeat for BDS,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder in a statement.
Despite having authored the amendment, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined his colleague Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) in voting against the stand-alone fast track measure.
“I believe in delegating trade promotion authority to the President — President Obama and his successors — but we cannot leave the protection of workers’ rights to hope and chance when we are negotiating these international agreements,” Cardin said in a statement.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), who authored the House version of the amendment, released a statement heralding the passage of TPA and the anti-BDS provisions.
“The recent wave of boycotts originating in Europe, including French telecom company Orange’s decision last week to sever ties with Israel, demands a robust response from the United States. This is that response,” said Roskam. “The bipartisan TPA provisions I authored are simple: if you want free trade with the United States, you can’t boycott Israel.”