While the liberal Middle East advocacy group J Street has vehemently opposed the bill, which would make it illegal to boycott Israel, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, an advocacy wing for more mainline Jewish Democrats, is supporting its passage.
The bill — called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act — would prohibit American companies from participating in Israel boycotts, including those promoted by international organizations like the United Nations. It was castigated by liberal advocacy groups and civil society groups almost immediately upon its release on First Amendment grounds.
An amended version designed to address those concerns was advanced through the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June but later put on the backburner after liberal advocacy groups and civil liberties activists objected that it still crimped free speech rights.
Democratic Senator Ben Cardin is reportedly now working to include the measure in a spending bill this month, as US lawmakers rush to finalize the package in a last-minute push during a lame duck session.
“We support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, as amended, and urge passage of this legislation during the 115th Congress,” said JDCA Executive Director Halie Soifer in a statement. “We are encouraging JDCA members to write to their member of Congress to support passage of the bill by the end of the year.”
A campaign on the JDCA website urging support of the bill notes that the Democratic party platform adopted in 2016 includes a plank on opposing BDS and efforts to delegitimize Israel.