March 25, 2019

Cardin, Portman Introduce Senate Resolution in Support of Israel

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have introduced a Senate resolution (S.Res. 120) expressing support for a democratic, Jewish State of Israel, as well as direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a two-state solution for the long-standing conflict. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday. Citing the rise of Anti-Semitism in the United States and globally, the bicameral, bipartisan resolution language opposes efforts designed to delegitimize Israel or circumvent direct negotiations, specifically the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel. 

“Peace in the Middle East, among Israelis and Palestinians, must come through direct negotiations for a two-state solution. This has long been the foreign policy of the United States and our bipartisan resolution seeks to reinforce that position,” said Senator Cardin. “Americans have the freedom to express their support or displeasure with the actions of Israel, but, as a nation, the U.S. cannot stand idle while other countries and international organizations use BDS to isolate a democratic ally. We must ensure that there is reasonable space for the two sides to come together to resume peace talks without political and economic pressure.”   

“This bipartisan legislation sends a clear message that politically-motivated boycotts of Israel are unacceptable to the United States,” Senator Portman stated. “I’m pleased to introduce this resolution with Senator Cardin that says the United States stands against illegitimate attempts to isolate our ally Israel or impose policy solutions to issues that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

The full text of the resolution can be found at this link and below.

RESOLUTION 

Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.

 

Whereas the democratic Jewish State of Israel is a key ally and strategic partner of the United States;

Whereas, since Israel’s founding in 1948, Congress has repeatedly expressed our Nation’s unwavering commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;

Whereas United States policy has long sought to bring peace to the Middle East and recognized that both the Israeli and Palestinian people should be able to live in safe and sovereign states, free from fear and violence, with mutual recognition;

Whereas support for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians has long-standing bipartisan support in Congress;

Whereas it is the long-standing policy of the United States that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should come through direct negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with the support of countries in the region and around the world;

Whereas it is a hallmark of American democracy for citizens to petition the United States Government in favor of or against United States foreign policy;

Whereas cooperation between Israel and the United States is of great importance, especially in the context of rising anti-Semitism, authoritarianism, and security problems in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa;

Whereas the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) targeting Israel is a campaign that does not favor a two-state solution and that seeks to exclude the State of Israel and the Israeli people from the economic, cultural, and academic life of the rest of the world;

Whereas the BDS Movement targets not only the Government of Israel, but also academic, cultural, and civil society institutions in Israel, as well as individual Israeli citizens of all political persuasions, religions, and ethnicities, and in some cases even Jews of other nationalities who support Israel;

Whereas the BDS Movement does not recognize, and many of its supporters explicitly deny, the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination;

Whereas a founder of the BDS Movement has denied the right of the Jewish people in their homeland, saying, “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”;

Whereas university-based BDS efforts violate the core goals of the university and global cultural development, which thrive on free and open exchange and debate; and

Whereas the BDS Movement promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment, and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace and a two-state solution: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) opposes the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) targeting Israel, including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel;

(2) affirms that the BDS Movement undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure;

(3) urges Israelis and Palestinians to return to direct negotiations as the only way to achieve an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

(4) supports the full implementation of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–296; 128 Stat. 4075) and new efforts to enhance governmentwide, coordinated United States-Israel scientific and technological cooperation in civilian areas, such as with respect to energy, water, agriculture, alternative fuel technology, civilian space technology, and security, in order to counter the effects of actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel; and

(5) reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish State of Israel and a viable democratic Palestinian state—living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.