US senators in favor of a pro-Israel bill passed in the upper chamber of US Congress are urged to “read the Constitution.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denounced the Senate’s Tuesday vote to pass legislation in an attempt to stop contracts with supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Today, the Senate chose politics over the Constitution and trampled on the First Amendment rights of all Americans,” said the rights group.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) rushed to applaud the pro-Israel measure.
“This legislation mirrors a provision in current federal law that protects states directing divestment from companies invested in Iran’s energy sector,” AIPAC claimed, adding that “the legislation has no impact on the right of Americans to personally boycott Israel or oppose Israeli policies.”
Seventy-seven senators voted in favor of the move and 23 voted against it.
Most of the Democratic Party members of the Senate also threw their support behind the measure, while only one Republican, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, voted against the legislation along with nearly half of the Democrats.
“We thank each senator who defended the First Amendment and voted against the Combating BDS Act,” the ACLU said. “Senators who voted for the bill: we encourage you to read the Constitution, which protects against the McCarthy-era tactics this bill endorses.”
The pro-Israel measure is expected to fail once it reaches the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
The BDS is gaining momentum in the United States and poses a serious threat to Israel’s “hegemonic power” in Washington, according to Myles Hoenig, a political activist based in the US state of Maryland.
The movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”