Kustoff, Scalise, McCaul, and Zeldin Start Process to Bring Pro-Israel, Anti-BDS Bill to House Floor
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman David Kustoff (TN-08) joined Steve Scalise (LA-01), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Michael McCaul (TX-10) to try and force a vote on H.R. 336, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019. Rep. Kustoff is a co-sponsor of this important bill.
In the wake of the dangerous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on the left, the Senate took swift action earlier this year to pass S. 1 in a widely bipartisan vote. Since then, we have seen an alarming chorus of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric from Democrat members of Congress, and Speaker Pelosi has refused to bring H.R. 336 to the floor to protect radically anti-Israel elements of her caucus from taking a tough vote. Between a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism and direct threats to Israel’s security, it is critical that we act to support our most important ally and reaffirm Israel’s right to exist.
“Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East and we must continue to do all we can to support and protect her. Movements like the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign should be condemned on a bipartisan basis. It is in the national security interest of the United States to combat anti-Semitism around the world, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle can stand with me in combatting this hatred,” said Rep. Kustoff.
“The Senate responded quickly and decisively with appropriate legislation to counter the dangerous BDS movement, but Speaker Pelosi has refused to bring this bipartisan bill to the House Floor and House Democrats stood idly by as their colleagues made senseless anti-Semitic remarks. Speaker Pelosi must hear our message loud and clear: the time for watered-down resolutions is over. The House must follow the Senate’s lead and take immediate action to support our allies and combat the BDS movement that aims to delegitimize and economically isolate Israel,” said Whip Scalise. “We have to protect states like Louisiana who are already divesting public funds from entities that boycott Israel. We will not stand for radically anti-Israel progressives to hide behind Democrat leadership any longer. It is our duty to bring H.R. 336 to the floor so every American can know whether or not their representative stands with our greatest ally Israel.”
“Since its founding in 1948, the United States has stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel to fight back against enemies that want to destroy it. The BDS movement is yet another enemy of Israel. It wants to exclude, isolate, and ultimately destroy Israel. The BDS movement is not about equality. It is not about peace. It is about undermining negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and placing all the blame on one party: Israel,” said Rep. McCaul. “It is our responsibility to protect against the detrimental impacts of this movement on our ally. By weakening Israel, the BDS movement endangers America’s security. We must all stand against it.”
“We have witnessed the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate throughout the world, in our nation, on college campuses and within the halls of Congress, and whether this bigotry is brazen or shamefully masked as ‘legitimate’ we must crush it wherever it exists,” said Rep. Zeldin. “For far too long, too many in this chamber have emboldened this rhetoric by accepting the BDS movement whose founder, in referring to Zionism, said 'I, for one, support euthanasia.' Members of Congress can no longer hide behind procedural roadblocks. The American people deserve to know where each and every one of us stand, which is why we're doing what House Democratic leadership won't; unapologetically bringing legislation to the floor that not only condemns the BDS movement but helps stop it.”
Background on discharge process:
- Today, Rep. Kustoff and Rep. Zeldin introduced a rule providing for floor consideration of H.R. 336, the McCaul anti-BDS bill.
- In May, upon the rule ripening, Whip Scalise will file a discharge petition and corral signatures on the Kustoff/Zeldin rule.
- Upon receiving 218 signatures, the McCaul bill will receive floor consideration.
Background on H.R. 336, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019: (Courtesy of Rep. McCaul’s office.)
- H.R. 336 is 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.