Anti-BDS vote fails in Senate

A motion to proceed with debate on the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 — legislation that incorporates four bipartisan bills, including the reauthorization of the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the U.S. and Israel in 2016, and a measure that would empower state and local governments to counter the BDS movement — was defeated in the Senate (56-44) after the Republicans failed to get the 60 votes needed.

Four Democratic Senators — Bob Menendez (NJ), Joe Manchin (WV), Doug Jones (AL) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) — voted in favor of the motion. Manchin’s spokesperson Jonathan Kott told Jewish Insider that the Senator voted in favor of the motion to proceed because “he supports the bill.”

HEARD ON THE SENATE FLOOR — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): “I am the co-sponsor of one of the bills that are before us — a U.S.-Israel security assistance bill — and strongly, strongly supportive of Israel. But as passionate as I have been for the security of the nation of Israel, I’m every bit as passionate about the security of the United States, and I think the first business of this Senate should be to reopen the government.”

RJC’s Matt Brooks emails us: “It’s very sad and disappointing that the Democrats — many of whom consider themselves to be pro-Israel — are playing politics with this critical legislation. Rather than being obstinate and digging in their heels, it would be refreshing for the Democrats to acknowledge that while the negotiations on how to move past this shutdown impasse continue we can accomplish some positive things in the interim. Sadly, the Democrats prefer holding vital legislation for the Jewish community hostage for the sake of scoring political points.”

Dan Shapiro tweets: “If you care about bipartisan support for Israel, you shouldn’t support tactics like this that transparently aim to make Israel a political football. Bills that have strong bipartisan support can easily be advanced when legislators deal with each other on the level.”

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